Enjoy a Cup of Solar-Roasted Coffee Hot from the Helios 4

by , 06/02/11

green design, eco design, sustainable design, Open Sun Project, Dave Hartkop, Helios 4, Solar coffee roaster, coffee roasting, solar power

Artisanal and specialty roasted coffee has finally become the norm for Americans- how delicious! With cafes employing their own roasters, it was just a matter of time before some eco-conscious coffee lover invented a solar powered roaster. Called the Helios 4, this massive machine roasts beans with the use of robotic mirrors.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, Open Sun Project, Dave Hartkop, Helios 4, Solar coffee roaster, coffee roasting, solar power

Created by coffee entrepreneur Dave Hartkop, the Helios 4 uses over 600 mirrors to siphon the sun’s energy for the roaster. Helios is no small machine, the giant weighs in at a whopping 11,000 pounds and spans an area of 35 x 35 feet! Being interested in renewable energy and coffee, Hartkop designed Helios to roast beans for his online coffee venture in an eco-conscious and cost effective way.

The heavy machinery may seem a little excessive to the outside, but it features heavy supports to guard it from the gusty 90 mph winds that are common in his native Pueblo, Colorado. The complicated process involves tracking the sun via video, fed with a pinhole camera. The entire mirror system moves a few degrees every few minutes, capturing optimal sunlight, via a solar battery powered motor.

The sun heats the receiver to a roasting temperature of around 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are cooled with solar-cell powered fans. Hartkop is working on a lighter version of Helios, to install on his brother’s roof. 

The project is currently in the fund raising Kickstarter phase, which you can help with. In exchange, Hartkop is sharing his solar power method- called the Open Sun Project, so others can build mechanisms to harness the power of the sun for whatever needs their hearts desire.

+ Open Sun Project

+ Helios 5 Kickstarter

Via Popular Science

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  1. colinfanning June 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I was gonna say. The Hartkop brothers have actually owned a bricks-and-mortar coffee shop in downtown Pueblo since 2007, and the Helios 4 has been running for some time: “Despite many challenges in creating this new solar coffee roasting system, the new roaster went into operation in the first quarter of 2008.” (http://www.solarroast.com/about5.html)

    The Kickstarter project linked in this article is actually for Helios 5, which the Hartkops hope to install on the roof of a downtown building, thereby reducing the travel distance/costs/emissions involved in getting the roasted beans to the shop.

    Also, most importantly: Solar Roast coffee is really, really good!

  2. swagv June 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm
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