The Backyard Biogas Generator That Makes The Most of Your Leftover Lunch

What if you could go one step further than simply tossing your food scraps onto the compost heap and actually convert your lunch leftovers into energy you can use to cook your dinner, all from the comfort of your own home?

Autor*in Marisa Pettit, 06.22.16

What if you could go one step further than simply tossing your food scraps onto the compost heap and actually convert your lunch leftovers into energy you can use to cook your dinner, all from the comfort of your own home? Well, there’s a new innovation lets you do exactly that: a do-it-yourself biogas generator that allows people with enough space in their backyard to convert their household organic waste into bio gas and liquid fertiliser.

Ever present these days is the issue of global food waste: the fact that on average we are still wasting or losing a third of all the food we produce. Solutions to the problem have been cropping up from all corners of their world, from new technologies in South Korea that encourage people to rethink their consumption habits, to US inventions that use over-ripe tomatoes to generate electricity. And now, from Israel, comes another innovation: this time one that combines the fight against food waste with the production of clean energy, and all the simple benefits of home composting.

The HomeBiogas system does exactly as the rather straight-forward name suggests. It’s a device you can use at home – small enough to fit into a garden shed or a back garden – that produces biogas by “digesting” the organic waste that you feed it. It doesn’t need any electricity to run, and according to developers, each litre of food waste put inside yields approximately 200 litres of gas – the amount needed to cook for one hour over a high flame. And the system can work with any kind of kitchen leftovers – including, surprisingly meat, dairy, and even pet litter, which for most ordinary composting systems is a big no-no.

There’s another handy by-product which the device can create: fertiliser, at a reported rate of 5-10 litres a day. So, if you’ve got a vegetable garden or an orchard next to your HomeBiogas, you can put the fertiliser produced by your food waste directly onto your plants, boosting garden yield and producing yet more food, which you can cook using the fuel produced by the food waste, and so on, and so on, creating a completely closed full-circle no-waste loop.

After first trialling the product several times in communities around the world, a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year raised enough cash to finance its manufacture for the commercial market. The machine certainly isn’t cheap – an early bird special costs 995 USD – meaning it’s out of many consumers’ price range, and the whole contraption works best at a regular temperature of around 15-17°C day and night, meaning it’s certainly not ideal for all climates. But if you’ve got the financial resources and are lucky enough to live in a country with mild weather all year around, a system like this could revolutionise the way you deal with food waste, and also help you do your bit to conserve the planet’s ever-declining traditional energy sources – apparently with a full input of six litres of organic waste each day, it can help households eliminate one tonne of organic waste each year, avoiding generating the equivalent of six whole tonnes of CO2.

For more about how it all works, check out the video below or head to the website:

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