Sometimes, in exploring alternative energies, one must look back to look forward. Case in point: The biomass stove. It all started with Ben Franklin, who invented the iron furnace stove. Then, in 1973, Mike Haefner tweaked Ben’s baby and created the first certified biomass fuel stove. The improvement lay in the fact that Mike’s creation burned biomass.
What’s biomass? Biomass itself is the process of turning trees and plant material into fuel, which, technically, are referred to as bioproducts. Among other things, they include "shelled corn, wood pellets, cherry pits, and waste paper pellets." Mike and representatives of his company, American Energy Systems, would encourage you to burn corn pellets in their Magnum stoves, however.
Why corn pellets? Corn is a staple crop of the Midwest, and American Energy is located in Hutchinson, MN–where cornfields blanket the countryside. Also, corn is clean-burning and quickly renewable, growing to maturity in as little as 90 days.
What does it mean to your pocketbook? The manufacturer states that the average home will burn 85 to 150 bushels of corn per season, which, based on the cost of the corn, will run as little as $1 to $3 per day to heat the average-sized house. Beside lowering your heating costs, there are tax incentives for those choosing biomass appliances. For more information on incentives that may apply to you, go to http://www.dsireusa.org/.
Where do you buy shelled corn? According to the company’s literature, you can check with your "closest Magnum dealer, feed mill or grain elevator. The Extension Office in your county, land-grant University or local corn growers association."
Is American Energy Systems the only manufacturer of biomass stoves? No. Check Penn State's College of Agriculture Science's Energy Strategies webpage for alternatives and further information about burning corn as an alternative fuel source. For a Magnum dealer near you, check their website.