Two brothers based in Pueblo, Colo., have launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop what they are calling the Helios 5, a version of the solar “power tower” technology used in some deserts. The brothers say the technology will allow roasters such as themselves to harness energy on urban rooftops and divert it to the spaces below.
With two weeks to go in the fundraising campaign, brothers David and Michael Hartkop, owners of Solar Roast Coffee have raised nearly $3,000 toward the $20,000 fundraising goal.
From David Hartkop:
My brother and I own a business called Solar Roast Coffee. As the name suggests, we are in the business of roasting coffee using solar power. To this end, I have built four generations of solar concentrators (like giant magnifying glasses) that focus sunlight to create heat for roasting coffee. The coffee we’ve been able to make by this process thus far has been wonderfully aromatic, dark, and never bitter, so we’re sticking to it!
We are in the process of creating our fifth-generation machine, the Helios 5.
The machine will be a miniature version of the so-called “power tower” systems used for generating electricity in the deserts of California and Spain. The real advancement is that the system can be installed on the roof of an urban building, and used to provide heat to some process on the floor below. In our case, we will be using this heat energy to roast our coffee; we know that coffee is just the start, though. This is why we have opted to release the plans and instructions for building our concentrator system as an open-source technology project. We’re calling it “The Open Sun Project” and you can read more about it at www.opensunproject.com.
Our project will lay the groundwork for others who can then freely use the technology for business, industry, and humanitarian purposes. And it will let us scale up the production of our delicious solar roast coffee! 🙂