HomeBiogas hopes for gold as it launches its home biofuel system
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The HomeBiogas team is ready to go live (screenshot)

An Israeli team is launching a crowdfunding campaign for its system, which NGOs are already using around the world

Got gas? That’s what the team at HomeBiogas is asking.

What they really want to know is if your home is using environmentally friendly gas. Their system is one of the more advanced, self-contained biodegradable units to hit the market in years if it operates properly. On Tuesday, the company is launching an Indiegogo campaign to support the technology’s mass manufacture.

The model is akin to Back to the Future’s refurbished Delorean that runs on trash compactor fuel, but might be the first home model that approximates the size of the fictional 1985 concept. It produces about three hours of cooking gas and 5-8 liters of liquid fertilizer per day according to the Indiegogo campaign page. Its size (48”x65”x39.4”) makes it clearly bigger than a car-strapped version, but we’d be amiss to hold that against them. Once installed, it takes somewhere between 2-4 weeks to start cooking with gas (literally).

The first generation model has some drawbacks. It’s not cheap: The early bird specials are $890, $945, and $995, and the eventual retail price is going to be $1,500. The system works best in average temperatures of 60-64°F/15-17°C day or night, which could limit its use in the winter.

But the system is also off the grid and will continue producing fuel as long as you feed the beast. The solution takes up to six liters of food waste or up to 18 liters of animal manure a day: If you have 18 liters of manure just lying around your house taking up space, this is definitely the answer.

And for anyone worried about investing hard earned cash in a crowdfunding campaign, they provide a 12-month warranty for replacement parts.

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

It’s the brainchild of an Israeli team who put pedal to the metal on their idea in early 2012. They produced a first prototype shortly thereafter and a second in 2013. The third prototype rolled out in September 2014 and field testing of 30 units started shortly afterwards. They have received some financial support from the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist and a few anonymous local angels.

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

The team compares its product with leading solutions for three different system structures: underground brick dome, dual PVC barbells, and PVC sleeve. While their primary competition of Chinese-made DOME and Sleeve are mostly intended for farms, they say they best the home-centric unit ARTI out of India.

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

“A full HomeBiogas tank (400L of biogas) can fuel a three-blade barbecue grill for 45 minutes, a typical gas burner for about two hours, and a water heater for 30 minutes,” their campaign claims, in addition to saving you the equivalent of a year’s worth of unleaded at the pump (it’s not for cars though, so don’t mix it up).

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

Photo Credit: Indiegogo

They’ve already taken their sustainability-inherent design on the road to test it with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) among Bedouin in the Israeli Negev desert and children at the Buvundya Orphanage in Uganda.

“It’s true, the products are being used by Bedouin communities in Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” the HomeBiogas team tells Geektime. “The first units were installed in April 2014.”

They’ve gotten the backing of the Israeli Ministry of Energy and received funding from the Ministry of Environmental Protection to roll out units for off-the-grid Bedouin homes in the Negev. They also nailed a meet-and-greet with Israeli President Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin.

“We exhibited our system at the President’s house during the Succoth holidays. Mr. Rivlin actually explained the operation of the system to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General.”

Not quite, but with a little branding we’re sure they can get there. Remember, the Schwartz is in you.

The company was founded in February 2012 by CEO Oshik Efrati, COO Erez Lanzer and CSO Yair Teller. The Indiegogo campaign will run from November 24 through December 23 with the first units shipping out in May 2016.

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