Summerhill unveils biomass powder technology

By Lisa Gibson
New York-based Summerhill Biomass Systems publicly unveiled its technology for converting plant waste into biomass powder in March.

Summerhill has patents pending on its system, which produces a burnable fine powder fuel, similar in texture to baking powder. The fuel can be used to produce heat and burns as intensely as gas, according to the company.

The powder would cost less than heating oil, including delivery, and is more efficient than ethanol and other types of biofuels produced around the world, according to James McKnight, president and co-founder of Summerhill. The system can consume timber, brush, corn stalks and other plant waste, emitting no smoke or odor. "With our system, everything can be used," he said. "Nothing is wasted." The system is controlled by a thermostat and can be used in grain-drying operations as well as commercial and small industrial applications.

The company initially received a $75,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for feasibility studies and is looking for additional investors.
McKnight also presented his technology at the 2008 World Bank Alternative Fuels Symposium.