LST Energy designs technology for burning hay pellets

By Matt Soberg | August 03, 2011

LST Energy Inc. patented a solution to the practical difficulties of burning hay for heat. This start-up company based in Nova Scotia, Canada, has developed a pellet-burning furnace that eliminates the clinkers found in previously marketed biomass burners when hay was used as a fuel. LST intends to manufacture and market a wide variety of these clean-burning furnaces across North America.

Jim Trussler, the CEO and co-founder of LST Energy, believes the system is an enabling technology, facilitating hay production by promoting problem-free burning. According to Trussler, the utility of hay as a biomass heat source was inhibited by the formation of clinkers, which are the natural mineral substances that melt and form rocks during the burning process. The clinkers must be regularly removed to ensure efficient burning, thereby frustrating those utilizing hay as a biomass fuel.   

“Despite all of the benefits of burning biomass (hay) for heat, it couldn’t happen,” Trussler stated.  As a result, developers researched genetically engineered biomass instead of creating a mechanical solution to the problem. 

LST hopes its furnace technology creates the bridge between the vast benefits of biomass heat and usable industrial and residential applications. Trussler noted the initial market will be the agricultural community, where the benefits of using crop resources as a feedstock source can be realized.

Trussler spoke at an event in Nova Scotia in June on the benefits of hay-to-energy technology.  In his presentation, Trussler quoted Roger Samson, a leading world expert in biomass energy, who said that hay farmers can produce the energy equivalent of 7.2 percent of the world’s oil supply. Also, enough hay growing land exists to produce the material necessary to heat 69 million homes without interrupting the food chain for humans or animals.

Trussler said that hay is clean, cheap and local, concluding that “hay is a fantastic renewable resource.” Hay emits significantly low greenhouse gas emissions. At current fuel prices, consumers could cut their heating costs in half by using hay for heat. The production of hay as a biomass resource would have a significant effect on rural economic development. According to Trussler, 70 to 80 percent of the money spent on hay fuel would be reinjected into the local economy versus only 10 percent for oil. 

To kick start hay-to-energy technology, Trussler urged the renewable energy industry to put hay on its biomass radar due to its tremendous economic effect.