As people increasingly seek sustainable energy solutions, they may come across the product offerings of a small startup company in Eugene, Ore., called HESTIA Home Biogas, makers of anaerobic digesters for home use. When they do, HESTIA wants to be ready with a biogas cooktop.
“They want to be able to run off just that raw biogas coming straight out of the digester,” said Lucas Stangel, a graduating senior in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering. To help HESTIA achieve its goal, Stangel and team members Riley Tronson and Andrew Duvall designed a biogas cooktop for indoor use as their senior capstone project and displayed a prototype at the 2013 Engineering Expo.
Constructed primarily from off-the-shelf parts with one custom part, the double-burner unit ignites with a piezoelectric starter similar to those used in cigarette lighters and propane barbecues. It’s designed according to ANSI standards and ready for UL testing. As a backup solution, the unit also runs off natural gas after easily switching out a part.
The team says biogas is cheaper than solar and that anybody with enough room for an 8-foot by 6-foot bio digester can use their product. “You get gas, you cook, make food scraps, put it back in the digester, use that fertilizer to grow a garden. Use that garden, grow your food, cook some food,” said Stangel. “It’s a very interconnected sustainable initiative.”