About this project
Back to the Future may be fictional, but the machine that converts food scraps into energy is here, because we just built it. This is a living machine that eats food scraps and makes energy and plant food using microbes with zero waste. It’s called the HORSE. It’s portable. It’s affordable. It creates jobs and independence from fossil fuel energy and landfilling.
We just blew through the $20,000 barrier but we are running out of time! So we added a new $30 reward to invite small backers to make a fresh pledge. This magnetic sign is for carrying the message on your tailgate!
This changes everything, as featured on:
61% of what we throw away is biodegradable (food, landscape waste, paper, wood) and the solution is within our reach locally. Worse yet, 40% of all the food we produce never gets eaten. Food waste is nearly all going to landfills in North America. Join us in revolutionizing the way we create and distribute renewable energy by backing the HORSE project.
Benefits of HORSE
• The HORSE will eradicate curbside garbage pickup and the carbon emissions associated with long distance trucking.
• Creating a whole new shared carbon-negative transportation model for local use: less trucking + no landfilling + renewable energy!
• Combined benefit is disruptive and huge – it’s decentralized – it’s portable – it’s affordable
Imagine a technology that can divert waste and create energy off-grid. Imagine eliminating the organic waste from your trashcan. Imagine making it into two valuable new resources that you can personally or commercially use. Our crowd sourcing goal is to both connect like-minded people and to raise enough money to build a containerized version of the HORSE. The one you see in this campaign is going to Surrey, British Columbia! Our Canadian friends will enjoy the first one!
This is how Henry Ford conceived the Model T. This is how Doc Brown conceived the Flux Capacitor. They inspired us. Ford's vision was a horseless carriage constructed of the “best materials, by the best people available, using the simplest designs that technology can devise”. Our vision is a HORSE with the same characteristics. Now a century later we are taking it up a notch with biomimicry – a machine designed to behave like nature intended. The future is now! In the year 2015!
The vision is to become more self-sufficient and to make renewable energy on your property and fertilize your own or a nearby garden or farm to grow food and flowers. The HORSE is both a sustainability and society game changer. It’s all about the quadruple bottom line: people, planet, profit and progress. There are 700,000 restaurants and 4,000 college campuses in North America. Each one should have their own HORSE. Just imagine the sustainable energy revolution for islands, resorts, zoos, museums, schools, parks, convention centers, farmer's markets, music venues, apartments, and corporate and municipal campuses as they turn food scraps into energy. This is just the beginning.
Here's how it Works
It will consume 25 tons per year of food scraps, beverages, fat, and paper products. It can create 5,400 gallons per year of liquid fertilizer + up to 37 MW-hrs of raw energy. As renewable gas that’s 125 Million BTU per year (4.3 MW-hrs of this energy is electrical output). The system also has accessory valves for BBQ grills, fire pits, lights, and ovens. How cool is that? Here is what that means in everyday terms.
We want to show the world how this works
If you pledge you will be part of the Community Supported Biocycling (CSB) learning community. Biocycling means sustainably recycling biodegradable materials like food scraps into something of value. This will be a sustaining forum to develop projects, share experiences, successes, challenges, ideas, and more innovation. CSB is the operating system for the HORSE. CSB is designed to help others run Kickstarter campaigns or other initiatives to get funding for a HORSE of their own, including copy, video, other media, and best practices we have identified in running a Kickstarter to get funding for an Impact unit and onsite bioenergy generation.
You can make an impact and be part of this
We have a specific CSB project in Seattle and are hoping to build more as a demonstration to allow early adopters and innovators a chance to operate this system. We can build as many projects as the campaign supports so jump on this HORSE with us! This is the logo we created for our CSB community. It puts a face on our operating system that people can recognize and use at restaurants, community gardens, and other public places.
Why pledge on this one without receiving a cool gadget? Because it’s about future generations and paying it forward. We have come up with some cool rewards in the pledge levels – even though this campaign has a social and environmental purpose. Check them out. With your help this innovative machine can make a really big difference.
Our systems are designed and built in the US, near Seattle in the small town of Auburn, Washington. Here are some pictures of fabrication of the prototype unit:
What kind of things can I put in the HORSE?
The HORSE can take a wide range of organic wastes, including kitchen trim, post-consumer dining room food scraps, meat, grease, oil, all edible liquids, seafood, dairy products, starch, sugar, fruit, vegetable, small bones, soiled paper products, napkins, tissue, paper towels, waxed paper, grass clippings, leaves, fats, fryer oil, grease trap waste, beverages, alcohol, soup, condiments, eggshells, glycerin, etc.
What kind of things should I NOT put in the HORSE?
If a real horse can't eat it you should not put it in this one. For example: no plastics, glass, or metal. No soap or cleaning products. Too much salt is a bad idea. Alcoholic beverages, brewery yeast, distillery 'stillage', and dairy whey are OK. Wood is not bad but also not helpful. Avoid things that will kill bacteria.
How much does a HORSE cost?
The cost of a HORSE is $43,300. We have set the crowdfunding goal low but we have high hopes to give birth to two HORSEs from this campaign. While the Kickstarter platform has a limit of $10,000 we are prepared to credit 50% of any pledge toward a subsequent purchase of a HORSE on or before April 2017.
What does “Reinventing Horsepower” mean anyway?
This will really surprise you! Our HORSE works around the clock to perpetually recover the power embedded in food waste. When generating electricity this energy converts into about 5,000 kWh per year. If a Tesla gets around 2 miles per kWh, our HORSE could power that Tesla to go about 10,000 miles per year. Not bad. Keep in mind, that car weighs 2.5 tons though. To improve transportation productivity, we decided to lose the unnecessary weight and create a carbon neutral urban cargo tricycle powered by human and electric motorhub. Let’s go Back-to-the-future and call this the HORSEPOWERED CARRIAGE. Fully loaded, this carriage weighs around 0.3 tons. Now we can squeeze the work out of every kWh and transport stuff more than 10 miles per kWh. That's a 5x improvement in electric vehicle productivity or about 52,000 miles per year! This mind-blowing combination could be the next-gen HORSE and CARRIAGE, from waste to wheels...1 lb of food scraps can fuel 1 mile of electric transport! In today's budgeting dollars this work is valued at $52,500 in transportation and disposal and 27 MTCO2e of emissions!
Who are Impact Bioenergy & Community Supported Biocycling? What are each of their roles in this project?
Impact Bioenergy is the core technology provider, designer, builder, and supplier of the HORSE digester. CSB is the service end of a strategic partnering program that helps remove barriers to market and deploy this transformational technology in different locations. It is a partnering program between organizations such as food banks, schools, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, markets, urban farmers, gardeners, and other for-profit or non-profit ventures.
What is Biocycling?
Biocycling is the recycling of organic materials. In the context of our project, this term describes the process of taking organic wastes such as food scraps and converting it into liquid fertilizer and energy that can once more be used directly on the farm at which these food resources were originally produced. We like to say...
Farm to fork to fertilizer and fuel, and back to the farm again.
Why the HORSE? Why not just compost?
Composting is awesome but many food wastes are just too wet and dense to compost easily. It is far better to digest the food wastes which conserves all the nitrogen and water, harvest the energy, and make liquid fertilizer. The liquid can also be used to irrigate compost and make the compost even better. The digester biogas production & capture reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can be used as gas or used to make light, heat, electricity, or CNG vehicle fuel.
How much maintenance does the HORSE require? Who will do the work?
The HORSE requires about 3 hours of work per week that involves loading feed, mixing the digester contents, checking readings, and drawing off the liquid as needed. Future designs will have increased automation capabilities to reduce the daily maintenance requirement. A HORSE deployment creates local jobs, and operating personnel will be hired at each project location.
How does the HORSE work?
The horse mimics processes that occur in digestion system of a ruminant, like a cow.
If it is like a cow, why is it called a HORSE?
HORSE stands for High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electric output.
Risks and challenges
We need a host and partner who will make space for the HORSE and pay for the recycling service and energy we produce. That makes the economics work.
We need a local farmer and gardening community who will pay for the liquid fertilizer.
We need boots on the ground to make the CSB business model work.
We have a plan to address these objectives and meet the challenge.
With your pledge you can help us succeed and make a real impact.
We don’t have a big venture capital partner to industrialize this technology. We’re coming to you because this is the BEST way to localize the energy and food cycles in our lives. We want bioenergy to proliferate at the grassroots level. This means we need a community of inspired people who can share experiences and support one another. We can show how the energy and fertilizer can produce the absolute most benefit at the local level. This project will enable us to build a working network of off-grid food to energy systems...ripe for the 21st century!
Special thanks to all our supporters:
Laser Cutting Northwest, Auburn, WA
Aeron Jensan, Greenerzone, Surrey, BC
Demetris Woodstone Taverna, Edmonds, WA
Emerald Downs Horse Racetrack
Shadow Lake Elementary, Tahoma School District
Willie Green's Organic Farm, Monroe WA
ForTheGood Public Benefit Corp.
Community Supported Biocycling (CSB) collaborative
Lou Karsen - Video
Chip Rountree - Photography
Laura James - Drone work
Patti Dobrowolski - Illustrations
Joe McNulty - Illustrations
Edouard Stenger - Website
Brian Reding - Music
Rebecca Erickson - Music
University of Washington Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship
Tom Young, Congressman Dave Reichert's office
Doug Lein, City of Auburn Economic Development
Steve Gerritson and Tom Ranken, CleanTech Alliance Washington
Element 8 members who love bioenergy
Gwen, Narrah, and Michael, SocialContract.it
Kamal Patel - Graphics
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