Solar-Powered Coffee Roaster for Farmers Wins Major ASME Award

Solar-Powered Coffee Roaster for Farmers Wins Major ASME Award

ASME, the world’s largest professional organization for mechanical engineers, has awarded a Peruvian coffee startup a share of $500,000 in prize money plus technical assistance for a new roasting machine that harnesses the power of the sun.

I wonder if this can be adapted to roasting cocoa?

The hybrid solar roasting machine captures and stores energy through solar panels while also roasting directly through a series of angled mirrors that generate heat directly from sunlight up to 200℃ (392℉) within a hand-rotated steel drum above a hand-powered cooling tray.

Read the entire article here.

Archived Comments

Whoops, left one thing out – roasted beans will have less weight than non-roasted – as farmers are compensated on a weight basis, there’s an additional financial element that comes into play as well.

Totally. One needs to consider the WIFM aspect – what’s in it for me? for the cocoa farmer – however. If the cocoa farmer roasts the beans, that’s likely not of much value for the manufacturer due to food safety (roasting is the kill step, and the likelihood of the beans being recontaminated is very high), as well as loss of control of roasting. If it’s meant for localized mfr so the farmer can create his own product – then that’s an enabler.

A few years ago my daughter did some work exploring incorporating fresnel lenses into solar dryers to improve efficiencies and was able to achieve significant capacity enhancements as a result. Something like this could be repurposed for drying enhancements – not just for cocoa, but for any food item that requires drying for stabilization – corn, rice, fish, etc. Drying is, after all, simply a low heat roaster..

There are a number of variations on the above theme with regards to solar ovens, often positioned as backcountry, off the grid, or SHTF solutions for cooking food. A safety element to consider with either a solar lens concentrator or a fresnel lens focuser is a high potential to start a fire. Think of it as a really big magnifying glass, and we all know what we did with magnifying glasses as kids during the summer 😎

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