GOWANDA- Seneca businessman Ross John recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a Central New York biomass company, Summerhill Biomass Systems, to install an innovative heating system on his property that utilizes powder made from corn, grass, wood, and other renewable energy sources found throughout the Cattaraugus Territory.
The thermostat-controlled system, which utilizes a fine powder, allows a solid material to burn as intensely as a gas without smoke or odor. Other businesses in the region could eventually take advantage of this affordable energy system.
The initiative was announced Aug. 5 by Summerhill Vice President of Marketing and Sales Gifford Duffy during the Northeast Biomass Conference in Boston.
Dr. James McKnight, Summerhill president and co-founder, said the biomass powder is more efficient than ethanol and other types of biomass produced around the world.
"This is the most efficient way to extract stored solar energy out of waste biomass," said McKnight, who helped develop products for DuPont and Johnson & Johnson as an organic chemist. "With our system, everything can be used - leaves, stalks, branches, twigs. Nothing is wasted."
Added Summerhill Chief Executive Officer Steve McKnight, "I am delighted Summerhill Biomass Systems will be providing RJE International with a biomass burner system to begin testing use of our green energy systems technologies and products. Presuming this partnership progresses as we hope, this could lead to many new business opportunities for RJE International and Summerhill Biomass Systems partners."
Summerhill previously appeared at an October 2009 new business expo at the Syracuse Tech Garden. The system was tested in grain-drying operations in 2010.
Dr. McKnight presented his technology at the 2008 World Bank Alternative Fuels Symposium.
Ross John Enterprises International is comprised of 16 inter-related businesses, including a Holiday Inn hotel, convenience stores, gas stations, smoke shops, a Burger King restaurant and a commercial leasing office. Ross John is excited about the idea of promoting future economic development through renewable, affordable energy.
"I am delighted our business is beginning product trials of Summerhill Biomass Systems solutions," he said. "Visitors interested in seeing Summerhill Biomass Systems technology in operation are welcome to contact me and perhaps explore future opportunities together."
Installation and operation dates for incorporating Summerhill's technology on the Cattaraugus Territory as well as additional business partners participating in the product trials will be announced at a later time.