Summerhill unveils biomass powder technology

By Lisa Gibson
Posted March 10, 2010, at 3:48 p.m. CST

New York-based Summerhill Biomass Systems will unveil its technology for converting plant waste into biomass powder at a showcase Friday in King Ferry, N.Y.

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, according to Summerhill President and co-founder James McKnight, and is more efficient than ethanol and other types of biomass produced around the world. The system can consume timber, brush, corn stalks and other plant waste, emitting no smoke or odor. "With our system, everything can be used," McKnight 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.

Local, state and federal lawmakers, potential investors and green energy enthusiasts have been invited to Friday's event, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time at 1520 Route 90. McKnight also presented his technology at the 2008 World Bank Alternative Fuels Symposium.