All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Burning Kernels to Keep Warm

Like the pellet stoves I wrote about last fall, corn stoves are catching on as a heating alternative in Maine. They work on the same principle as wood pellet stoves—in fact, many models accept both types of fuel. The exhausted smoke is said to smell faintly of popcorn.

Dan and Lynn Beaulieu of Fort Kent are converting a potato barn into a corn stove shop, set to open in May. They're buying and repackaging fuel corn from Herbert "Bussie" York of Sandy River Farms, who says it's an idea whose time has come.
A bushel of corn, which now sells for $2.41 a bushel, can replace 3.6 gallons of oil, he said. With heating oil selling for well over $2 a gallon, oil costs more than three times as much as corn by his calculations.

"We can grow for our own energy needs right here," York said. "Corn is a clean fuel, it is up to 85 percent efficient and burns with no smoke, no odor, no creosote, no fire danger and produces very little ash. And you can grow a crop in 180 days." [Link]
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