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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The DIY fish supper: Future kitchen grows its own vegetables and seafood

By Sean Poulter

If you thought kitchen technology had reached its peak with the microwave oven, think again.

Future cooks will use an indoor biosphere which grows vegetables and fish ready to be prepared with absolute freshness.

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but this sort of technology is already under development to help households take the pain out of going green.

The Biosphere Farm by Philips

Going swimmingly: The Biosphere Farm by Philips houses fish, root vegetables, grasses, herbs, plants and algae under a common roof

A study produced to help buyers at John Lewis plan for changing lifestyles details how technology can preserve the quality of life while dramatically cutting energy and water use.

It highlights advances already in development such as washing machines and dishwashers which clean with sound waves.

There will also be 'frugal fridges' which will suggest recipes based on what is inside and even compact and recycle food waste.

But perhaps most dramatic is the self-contained biosphere farm, created by Philips, to provide fish and fresh produce 52 weeks a year.

It will also deliver fresh hydrogen, which can be used to power a car, and run on food waste from the kitchen.

The plants produce oxygen, which is fed into the fish tank to keep the occupants happy.

The tank is kept clean by shrimps, which can also be eaten.

Elsewhere in the house, showers will filter waste water through a bed of reeds, allowing it to be reused to flush the lavatory or even make a cup of tea using, of course, a low-energy kettle.

Architects already use 3D printers to create the models they use in building design.

However, the technology will be applied to a machine which can use waste plastic to manufacture goods ranging from cups and spoons to a pair of trainers.

Last week, the energy regulator Ofgem warned that power tariffs might need to rise by 60 per cent by 2016 to fund a new generation of wind farms, nuclear and clean coal power stations.

Against this background, John Lewis and experts at the Future Laboratory, who are looking ahead to 2030, say there will be a fundamental shift in lifestyles and products to minimise energy use.

The head of product sourcing at the store, Sean Allam, said there would be a big move away from throwaway household gadgets with the store looking at ten-year guarantees on some items.

All Mod Cons in 2030