Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

Renewable Energy Center Unveils Biomass Energy Converter

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.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.