Home scale biogas plants are common throughout developing countries in Asia and Africa, however, biogas at home in the United States has been limited to a handful of backyard DIY projects. Oregon-based start-up Hestia Home Biogas hopes to change that with the introduction of their 2M3 (it stands for two cubic meters) home biogas plant. The company claims to have Americanized home biogas use, simplifying it for busy American households and making it more suitable for American backyards and gardens than the utilitarian systems used in developing countries.
“The United States is a much different regulatory and cultural environment than China or India,” says Hestia CEO and 2M3 inventor Warren Weisman. “Most Americans don’t have any trouble paying their light bill, you have to offer more than just saving a few bucks.”
In addition to its streamlined appearance, the 2M3 incorporates a number of features not found in other systems to make it as easy to operate as tossing waste in a garbage can or recycling bin. Most importantly, the patented water displacement system allows for loading of kitchen scraps and garden waste without premixing with water, saving users from carrying heavy buckets of water. Indicator lines inside the lid show when it is time to remove liquid biofertilizer or add water.
The inflatable top shows how much gas is available for cooking at a glance, eliminating the need for gas gauges. The durable EPDM top can last decades without needing to be replaced and can be replaced for around $40 if damaged. The fastening ring can be removed and replaced in minutes and provides a perfectly gastight seal every time. The units have built-in pressure relief for worry-free extended time away from home without a pressure relief valve that could become clogged.
Home biogas could compliment residential PV very nicely, providing clean burning cooking energy and fuel for a generator for stand-by electric. The units are fully insulated and have a heat exchanger under the digestion chamber intended to connect to an evacuated tube solar water heater for year-round operation.
“Our shop in Eugene is next door to a solar company, and the owner and a few of the employees there want one of our biodigesters,” Weisman said. “Soon as they saw one they could see how home biogas and solar could work together.”