Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Powdered Biomass for grain Drying and Other Heating Applications(ST10826-1)

Summerhill Biomass Systems, Inc.


Grain drying operations in New York State consume very large quantities of locally delivered but imported liquid fossil fuel. Nevertheless, grain drying operations have local access to waste biomass from which micro-powdered biomass fuel can be produced. Summerhill Biomass Systems, Inc. (SBS) has developed micro-powdered biomass fuel and the equipment to burn it. Micro-powdered biomass fuel consists of finely ground biomass of nearly any type, including wood, hay, cornstalks, and switch grass. Using SBS’ patent-pending combustion systems, micro-powdered biomass burns like heating oil or propane, converting nearly 100% of the energy of the powdered biomass feedstock into heat energy without generating the harmful emissions typically associated with biomass combustion.

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Project Description

This feasibility study will define the capital, labor, and energy costs of using micro-powdered fuel produced in New York from waste wood or corn stalks, confirm the current market potential, and develop and test the proposed business model. This study will also demonstrate that micro-powdered wood or corn stalks are much safer fuels than either oil or propane.


If this technology is proven feasible, the estimated benefits would include a cost savings to the end users of approximately $25 million per year or more, depending on current oil prices. Other benefits include: reduced carbon dioxide emissions, replanting for the farmer becomes less expensive, re-growth is enhanced, and an estimated several hundred new jobs will be created within New York State to supply the powder and the new burner systems.

Project Results

Project was not completed in its entirety. The end result was a working prototype of the biomass powder burner was developed and successfully demonstrated grain drying for a six-hour interval. Several grinding studies were conducted to determine what the best grinding company would be for the biomass powder.


Summerhill Biomass Systems, Inc.
4641 Brookhill Dr N
Manlius, NY 13104

Principle Investigator

James McKnight

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

Ashley Cox


Strategic Operations

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10826-1

Last Updated: 8/3/2012 1