We've set up a new Flickr set and stuffed it with photos of egg-shaped sludge digesters culled from the web, simply because they're absolutely beautiful. They're readily photogenic — with or without dramatic lighting.
In the sewage treatment process, these extraordinary womb-like structures break down the organic solid matter in the wastewater into more stable materials. With additional processing, some of these byproducts are turned into fertilizers. These digesters also generate biogas with a high proportion of methane that can be used to power the machines. In fact, in large treatment plants, they can produce more electricity than the installations require. The egg shape makes this process more efficient. Compared to their more conventional cylindrical counterparts, they require less energy, maintenance and space. That they are aesthetically pleasing is probably just a happy coincidence.
They're clearly calling out for a book deal, so it's worth asking again if they've ever been the subject of a 1,000-pound coffee table book published, say, by the interior decorator Taschen.
Or have they perhaps been the object of interest in a typological study by a special-interest niche publisher and released as a slim print-on-demand pamphlet?
Are the next Bernd and Hilla Becher out there now documenting these industrial Fabergés?