Summerhill Biomass Systems

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Milestone in Summerhill wood powder testing

Authored by Chen Wei (David) Zheng:

Summerhill Biomass Systems uses and consults on green and sustainable biofuel processing –  including wood powders. We  evaluate our clients’ materials for acceptability as a powder form of biofuel. In addition to planning and selecting the optimum “powdering” methods, we  look at sizing and combust-ability  of materials using a Summerhill burner.

Test Table

The above table(Click it to enlarge) shows the results of a test result on a sample set of powder variables recently used on a Summerhill Biomass System.  Two bags of wood powder were used from the same source. One bag has been opened for two years, while the other one is fresh (unopened). The green, red and black lines represent different variables tested with the first bag. Red was toasted for 2 hours. Black was toasted for 1 hour. Green was tested in an as-is state, after separating out the larger particles that had congealed over time. The grey line represents the fresh bag of wood powders, which was unopened, but had been stored in a barn for two years. The lines all demonstrates the distribution of particle size across each of the samples.

Combustible particles are larger than 100 micrometres. Hence, the yellow area on the table shows the burnable range. The first picture in the left hand side of the table strongly correlates to a powder particle sizes between 50 to 80 micrometres won’t burn even with a robust fire source such as a propane torch. Furthermore, compared to the open bag powders, flame of the fresh powder is less distorted, which manifests a far more thorough combustion.  Summerhill Biomass Systems Inc. has performed initial  emmision tests confirming no presence of volatile organic compounds(VOC).   These results demonstrated that the carbon monoxide levels were 1/5 those produced with a new pellet furnace.   Thus, a bright, clean and ordourless flame is a result of complete combustion.

According to the test results, biofuels in powder form are a perfect candidate for a sustainable energy resource, especially when sized larger than 100 micrometres.

Powders TestA quick and dirty test we perform in the workshop(please click the gif picture for the animation). Don’t try this at home please:

1.Tape the plastic tube(1/4 inch diameter) into the bottom of a cup tightly.
2.Powders are all put into the cup by a soft paintbrush, in order to make powders loose enough, while they could be compressed.
3.A propane hand torch is used to provide a stable ignition source.
4.Blow(around 100 mph) the tube so as to spread powders out and burn them thoroughly.
Burner 2014-07-23 13.41.29

Another remarkable thing is a burner invented and made by our Chief Engineer J. Kimball McKnight. Here are photos took in the 8th annual Biomass Energy Workshop held at the Big Flats Plant Materials Center in Big Flats, NY (07/23/2014). Kim was showing how the burner works for representatives. That was one small step for Summerhill Biomass System; one giant leap for biofuel.

Thu, July 24 2014 » Biomass Fuel » No Comments

Announcement – Raymond von Dran IDEA Awards

IDEAOur CEO Theresa Auricchio, serves on the Board of Advisors of IDEA. IDEA is the Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (IDEA). It is a partnership between Syracuse University and The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, NY and it is open to all student entrepreneurs from colleges and universities in the Syracuse metropolitan area. Recently she participated on the Green Energy/Sustainability judging panel for the Raymond von Dran IDEA Awards competition. This was one of the six different award categories. This competition is the largest startup funding competition for college and university student entrepreneurs in New York State and with over $150,000 in annual funding, the awards allow students to start nonprofit or for-profit ventures in Central New York. The winners of the competition qualified for the New York State Business Plan Competition to be held in Albany later this month. This is one of the worthiest opportunities to donate money and expertise to in a long time. Your funds are used wisely to facilitate entrepreneurship with the goal of developing sustained businesses in the local Syracuse-Ithaca area. One of last year’s winners has grown his web PR business to 15 employees, a very impressive feat in a highly competitive local market. Information can be found at

Sun, April 21 2013 » Innovative and Disruptive Entrepreneurship » 1 Comment

Invitation to the 23rd Annual Government Procurement Conference

GPC conference header

Event: 23rd Annual Government Procurement Conference

Agenda: Marketing products and services to procurement representatives and small business specialists from federal agencies for business partnerships.

Date: April 25, 2013

Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center 801 Mount Vernon Place NW Washington, DC 20001

Booth #: 281

Time: Exposition on Thursday, April 25th 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sun, April 21 2013 » Procurement matchmaking conference » No Comments

Summerhill Partner 2013 Annual Report Available

LEED Platinum Syracuse Center of Excellence

LEED Platinum Syracuse Center of Excellence

The Syracuse Center of Excellence, for which Summerhill Biomass Systems is a partner company, has published its 2013 annual report. The report can be viewed at

Wed, February 13 2013 » Summerhill Partners » No Comments

Questions answered on feedstock

The ultimate renewable energy source.

The ultimate renewable energy source.

Summerhill engineers have been performing demos in the past few months and the common questions we have encountered include queries regarding feedstock. Our demonstrations used both soft and hardwood chips as a raw feedstock.

Other feedstock used includes tobacco leaf by-product, corn stalk, lignin, citrus peel, cotton by-product, wheat chaff , and confectioner sugar. Findings from ongoing tests consistently conclude that the importance is particle size – not material type. Efficiency in producing powder is dependent on moisture content and fiber characteristics.

Summerhill selects the proper fuel preparation method for partners as part of the fuel production design process.

When combined with air and exposed to an ignition source at the burner element, where the powder to air proportions are at the right ratio, the fuel will combust in a controlled fashion. When burned in a Summerhill burner, powder burns like a gas. In operation, the Summerhill burner looks like a large propane torch. It can be turned on and off at will (instant on/off ), and can be controlled with a thermostat. Summerhill powder burns as cleanly as natural gas. The powder is reduced to such a small size that the combustion is virtually complete.

Thu, January 24 2013 » Biomass Fuel » No Comments