Renewable Energy Center Unveils Biomass Energy Converter

The "Stalk Stoker" converts biomass into energy using a system four times more efficient than traditional technology.

stalk stoker

Photo: Richard Lugar Center for Renewable Energy

The Stalk Stoker creates energy from biomass. Researchers say they hope the machine will one day be affordable enough to distribute around the world.

IUPUI’s Richard Lugar Center for Renewable Energy has unveiled a new machine that turns biomass into energy using a system that is much more efficient that traditional technology.

Officials held a ribbon-cutting for the “Stalk Stoker” in Indianapolis on Thursday.

Lugar Center for Renewable Energy Director Peter Schubert says the center has just been awarded a patent on the $500,000 machine that converts biomass, any woody plant material that is not used for food, into electric power and useful heat.

Schubert says the plan is to make the Stalk Stoker available to farms and businesses all over the world.

“Currently, people cook with things they take from the land around them, and that’s 4 percent to 20 percent efficient. This is 70 percent efficient, so if you use this in a village, you can use less biomass to cook more food and also provide electric power,” he says.

Purdue University now owns the patent on the technology and the Lugar Center for Renewable Energy is currently seeking financing to manufacture more machines.

“We eventually need to get this robust enough and cheap enough to deploy worldwide,” Schubert says.

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  • Neal Van Milligen

    Once again science proves that with enough grant money a project can produce what has already existed for 60 years.

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