New Furnace Uses Horse Manure for Fuel

John Kimberlin hopes to light a fire under his idea of using manure to produce heat and electricity.

Kimberlin, of Waukee, Iowa, believes he has perfected a small-scale furnace that can be used on farms, at racetracks, or anywhere livestock waste piles up.

Investors have worked to turn manure and biomass into energy, and scientists say it could make Iowa a major producer of power. The state produces enough manure to power 325,000 homes, according to estimates from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

There also are tax incentives that encourage the development of methane digesters to create electricity and control odor.

Kimberlin said he came up with the idea of building a manure furnace from the tons of horse manure he had on his farm west of Des Moines.

He needed to find some way to get rid of it. He said he couldn't spread it on his land without contaminating the water and hauling it away would be too expensive.

Kimberlin did some small experiments and spent time at the Iowa State University library researching his idea. He eventually received a patent and found some investors.

They formed a company called Nature's Furnace Inc., and are planning to make and sell several different kinds of furnaces.

Kimberlin said the company wants to keep the size of the furnaces small so they can be portable.

He also said the furnace, which will be marketed across the country and overseas, would be produced locally.

"We want to build them right here, to bring the employment here," he said.

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The Associated Press

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