Biomass: Heating Your Home With…Corn?
With fossil fuel prices expected to continue increasing, many people are nervous about future heating bills. Using biomass as an alternative is becoming particularly popular. As strange as it may sound, corn is a popular fuel. Not Just For Movies Anymore As mentioned by President Bush in his State of the Union speech, the United States has a bad oil addiction. Throw in the negative environmental impact of using fossil fuels, and it becomes apparent a change is needed. As we look around for alternative energy sources, biomass is becoming a popular choice.
Biomass is simply energy derived from the burning of bio fuels such as animal waste and excessive crops. As people starve around the world, it is sadly ironic that we have a major surplus of corn. Corn makes an excellent biomass power source. This is because corn packs a serious amount of energy in each kernel. When used with a heating system, they produce as much heat as traditional furnaces, but at a much lower cost.
Biomass corn energy is produced using dry shelled corn as the power source. Unlike the edible variety, the corn does not have to be of high quality stock. Pretty much any shelled corn will do so long as it is dry and free of husk fibers. Corn is turned into heat for a home much the same way as wood. The process involves a fired stove with corn being used instead of wood. If you’re picturing standing in the snow with a shovel, you will be happily disappointed. These days, shelled corn is delivered to your home where it is stored in a tank. As the heating system requires additional fuel, a thermostat senses the loss in temperature and opens a door in the storage tank. A pre-set amount of corn falls into the furnace and, ta da, you have more fire and more heat. The heat is then piped into the home through the same duct system used with an electric heating system.
Generally, burning corn for heat will cost you half as much as oil produced energy, 30 percent less than coal produced heat and 70 percent less than heat produced with natural gas. If you’re buying energy to heat your house from a utility company, converting to a corn can save you as much as 75 percent. At first mention, using corn as a fuel source might seem “out there.” In truth, it is the most searched type of furnace on the Internet. That should tell you something about its popularity and viability.
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