2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Pelletizing Mower Powers Itself
Jason Force is in the process of building a tractor-sized prototype of his self-fueled, garden tractor-sized prototype that pelletizes grass clippings for fuel. What’s more, the machine is remote-controlled so no driver is needed. He calls it the “Iron Goat”.
Force, a George Mason University graduate, led an engineering team that came up with the concept of a mower fueled by the grass pellets it produces. When he realized it was ideal for agriculture, he began work on a larger prototype.
The fuel system is based on the principle of gasification, Force says. Except instead of wood, he uses grass – or hay.
“With this machine, you go directly from the hay field to processed pellets in one step,” he explains. “The price for pelleted hay will be less than baled hay. You don’t have to buy multiple machines and you don’t have the costs of moving and storing bales. The machine uses the hay as fuel.”
The mower cuts the hay, runs it through a mechanical dewatering process, then pushes it through a dryer and a pelletizer. Heat for the dryer comes from the engine. About 20 percent of the pellets (2 to 3 percent moisture) are gasified to fuel the mower. The rest drop into a bin to be fed to livestock.
“I’m actively reaching out to farmers these days,” Force says. “The current plan is that we would provide this as a service and sell pellets.”
Force is working on the guidance system to move the Iron Goat. The machine moves so slowly, he notes, that it’s not practical to have an operator.
“Its advantages are that it requires zero labor to operate, uses an inexpensive renewable fuel source, and produces a pelleted product at a significant discount over existing processes,” he says. “The primary technical challenge right now is balancing equipment and development cost against lifetime maintenance.”
Force welcomes anyone interested in the technology to contact him.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jason Force, 5625 Old Clifton Rd., Clifton, Va. 20124 (ph 703 217-2027; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ecomowtech.com).
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