Robotic EcoMow cuts and uses grass as fuel

Feb 17, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog
Robotic EcoMow cuts and uses grass as fuel

(Phys.org) —A self-fueled, self-guiding robotic mower is in the works from a Fairfax, Virginia based group; they are preparing a prototype by April. The company, by the same name, EcoMow Technologies, describes its device as a self-fueled mower as well as grass pellet harvester. Fundamentally, they intend to deliver a platform for harvesting and processing grassy biomass, and a fuel system technology to take advantage of the produced pellet fuel. The mower uses the grassy biomass that it harvests as fuel, and processes the biomass that it does not use into a dried pellet form, which can be used for heating or power generation. Looking into the company's beginnings, Gigaom said that George Mason University graduate student Jason Force, who now serves as the company's chief design engineer, several years ago started thinking about creating a lawn mower that might be able to power itself with the grass it harvested.

Eventually a team developed around the idea and they have been working to bring the device to market. The team designed the mower with attractive features for efficiency on a commercial scale.

The device uses the grassy that it harvests as fuel. It processes the biomass that it does not use into a dried pellet form, which can be used for heating or . (In place of a rotating blade, the EcoMow instead uses an electrically driven bar cutter. The bar cutter is followed by the pelletizer. The company said the pelletizer presses the grass into pellets somewhat like a meat grinder, except that higher pressures and temperatures are used.)

The EcoMow software is Google Maps-driven, with an interface for configuring the mower to cut the precise layout of the user's lawn. "The software running on mobile hardware uploads the configuration setup to its servers for the mower hardware to download and auto-configure," according to the company. Usage reports and other data are tracked and maintained in personal accounts.

The EcoMow team points to advantages that can be gained by commercial mowing operations. Those benefits include reduced labor, elimination of fuel costs, and a higher profit margin from the resale of processed biomass. "In established economies we can significantly shift energy use from fossil fuels to biomass sources while lowering the energy cost," they stated.

They also see the product as applicable to the needs of developing economies. "We can lower the barrier to implementing local production sources for power, heating, and equipment."

Explore further: Burning biomass pellets instead of wood or plants in China could lower mercury emissions

More information: www.ecomowtech.com/

via Gigaom

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lawn mower injuries often caused by distraction

May 26, 2013

(HealthDay)—Each summer, lawn mower accidents send countless numbers of people to the emergency room. Mishaps often involve serious injuries to the fingers, hands and feet. Often caused by a moment's distraction, ...

A study of switchgrass for home heating in the Northeast

Mar 22, 2013

(Phys.org) —President Barack Obama wants U.S. scientists to pursue an "all-of-the-above" strategy in developing new sources of domestic energy. Agricultural Research Service agronomist Paul Adler is providing ...

Recommended for you

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

21 hours ago

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

21 hours ago

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

Sep 19, 2014

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Shakescene21
not rated yet Feb 17, 2014
This looks very cool but probably way too ambious for this young team. However, funding for tech start-ups is sizzling right now, and I hope Ecomowtech can attract an "Angel Investor".
Howhot
not rated yet Feb 22, 2014
I have a Friendly Robotics robo-mower and it's in it's 12th season. 3 batteries later and it still works fine.
peter_trypsteen
not rated yet Mar 05, 2014
Very cool.

The Punisher theme is quite something:
Looks like the grass is being punished!