Researchers have found a way to get winter warmth from a summer source – grass clippings.
Chemists at Agricultural Research Services have developed a fire log that burns the same as traditional wood logs with a fraction of the impact on the environment. Made from 20 to 60 percent grass clippings, the logs also combine various plant-derived waxes and oils, unlike other fireplace ready logs, which make use of petroleum waxes and oils.
Grass clippings often make their way to landfills inside plastic garbage bags during the summer months. ARS says creating these logs is a way to free up space in landfills. It could also potentially help with deforestation and other energy-heavy manufacturing processes.
Clippings and other ingredients are dried to a moisture content of less than 15 percent, which allows the logs to ignite quickly, but also means the manufacturing temperature can be lowered below that of standard logs.
“Unlike many products manufactured today for burning in your fireplace, pellet stove, or campfire, the bio-based fire logs that Imam’s team developed contain no petroleum-derived chemicals. That means the eco-logs burn cleaner, emitting fewer potentially polluting volatile organic compounds, or VOCs,” ARS says in a press release.
Grass is an ample resource for the team, but ARS says logs can also be made from agricultural leftovers like corncobs, rice straw and cornstalk residue.
The same formula used in the logs can also be created as pellets for starting fires or using a pellet-burning stove.