Portland Roasting Coffee Preparing to Power Itself Through Waste-Heat Generator

Progressive coffee roasting company Portland Roasting Coffee is moving forward with a plan to install groundbreaking renewable energy technology in its roastery that, if successful, could not only generate enough electricity to power their entire operation, but possibly add energy to the grid.

A unique electricity generator is in development that will capture the “wasted” heat output from their roasting machine’s afterburners and transform it into usable energy. The technology is the product of Boulder, Colo.-based certified B-corporation Cool Energy, which has been pioneering the development of heat-capturing power generators for use in various but limited applications for almost a decade.

Portland Roasting Coffee would not only be the first coffee company to deploy the generator technology, it would also represent the first industrial application of its scale incorporating a waste-heat-fueled power generator, according to PRC Director of Coffee Nathanael May.

“With our new roaster, rather than purchase a traditional afterburner, we purchased a catalytic oxidizer, which operates with the same purpose and function as an afterburner but at approximately half the temperature and approximately half the natural gas costs,” May told Daily Coffee News.

The new roaster is a 210-kilo Diedrich that they purchased in December of 2015, and it was in the midst of that purchase that Diedrich put forth the possibility of partnering with Cool Energy for the development and installation of the generator.

“We went to Idaho imagining that we were just going to make sure that this was the right roaster for us, and then we came back with our heads spinning with dreams and possibilities,” ...

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