What if you could easily turn food waste—things like banana peels, chicken skin, melon rinds and other organic material—into clean, renewable energy that could be used to cook your meals? And what if this waste-into-fuel conversion process took place right in your own backyard!
It may not be as far-fetched as you might think.
According to the HomeBiogas company, such a device will soon be available for shipping. Known as the HomeBiogas 2, this off-the-grid appliance facilitates the anaerobic fermentation of food-waste to yield natural methane gas. The gas can be used to heat a single-burner biogas cookstove that comes with the system. The device can produce enough gas for up to three hours of cooking per day.
But that’s not all. Not only can you cook meals using energy sourced from organic waste, you can also fertilize your garden with the rich, liquid residue.
In other words, this machine can help you grow—and then cook—your vegetables! Talk about not wasting a thing!
Similar devices are also helping people who live in non-industrialized countries. As they reduce their dependence on smoky fires to cook their meals, indoor air pollution is also reduced.
In a recent edition of Sierra, HomeBiogas cofounder Yair Teller shared how he first learned about the idea on a trip to India. “I was amazed. It was the first time in India that I saw a kitchen where they didn’t cook on charcoal, wood, or dry cow dung. I asked, ‘Where does this gas come from?’ They took me to their little cowshed: In the morning they would wash all of the cow manure into an underground domelike cement structure, and from there a pipe went to the kitchen stove. It was built as part of an initiative on behalf of the Indian government.
“This system broke up the cow manure through anaerobic fermentation and produced biogas—natural methane—and liquid fertilizer. They used the really rich fertilizer to grow the vegetables and flowers that they sold in the local market on weekends. The biogas system gave them revenue; they didn’t have the indoor pollution that kills millions of women and children a year; and they preserved clean water by stopping the cow manure from entering the watershed. I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.”