Solar Roaster Appears in Italy

published: 2021-11-29 9:30 | editor: | category: News

Solar power is ubiquitous, and it is now also used to roast coffee beans. 

Italy is internationally renowned for its coffee and the invention of espresso, where the first café in Europe is situated in Venice, and the country is also the recipient of abundance insolation. Located in southern Europe, Italy has a relatively warm climate, with a low rainfall level during summertime, as well as a strong degree of insolation in daytime.

Now Roman engineers have introduced an eco-friendly roasting method for coffee beans that requires no power and gas; they spent 6 years in creating and refining the “solar coffee roaster”, which is fully sourced by solar power, and uses concentrated solar technology, aside from installing several units of solar panels.

The design team installed a heliostat on top of the coffee roaster, which facilitates a sufficient level of sunlight for the iron basket filled with coffee beans at the bottom of the roaster, and attains a final temperature of 240-250°C, though the temperature will still have to depend on the intensity of insolation. Coffee beans can be essentially roasted within 20 minutes.

However, regardless of solar PV or concentrated solar, a higher power generation would require a larger area to equip sufficient solar power generation equipment, thus the particular solar roaster requires a space of half a tennis court, which is equivalent to roughly more than 300m2 of land. The solar roaster is able to process more than 50kg of coffee beans under sufficient sunlight.

As pointed out by the design team, the solar roaster is able to preserve the aroma of coffee beans, and effectively release the flavor of coffee beans. The difference compared to traditional gas-powered hot air ovens is that the new piece of equipment primarily centralizes and concentrates sunlight to roast coffee beans instead of using the surrounding air, which facilitates an even heating without burning the coffee beans.

According to the designers Antonio Durbe and Danielle Tummei, a coffee roasting factory in the south of Italy that is configured with 40 heliostats can roast 30,000kg of coffee beans each year and preserve 60,000 kWh of power, while the excessive heat can also be used for a simple barbecue cookout during nighttime.

With that being said, solar power is an industry that depends on the weather, and the production volume will go down during cloud days or wintertime.

 (Cover photo source: pixabay)

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