Beth Buczynski

EcoMow Grass-Powered Robotic Lawnmower is its Own Energy Factory!

by , 02/13/14
filed under: clean tech, Gardening, News

EcoMow, eco-friendly lawnmower, grass-powered lawnmower, grass power, grass pellets, biomass pellets, robotic lawnmower, automatic lawnmower

EcoMow, a startup founded by engineers and business students from George Mason University, is working on an automatic lawnmower that literally creates its own fuel. Between the tailpipe emissions and noise pollution, there’s nothing very clean or green about a traditional lawnmower. Sure, there are electric mowers (still ultimately powered by fossil fuels) and pushmowers (who’s got time for that) but both seem frightfully outdated in a time when phones double as personal computers. So EcoMow is giving the lawnmower a sustainable yet sophisticated upgrade. Their robotic lawnmower not only cuts grass without assistance, but it also turns those same organic clippings into biomass fuel.


EcoMow, eco-friendly lawnmower, grass-powered lawnmower, grass power, grass pellets, biomass pellets, robotic lawnmower, automatic lawnmower

As anyone who’s maintained a lawn knows, most mowers immediately spit out clipped grass directly back onto the lawn. Some bag mowers prevent this from happening, leaving you with a huge bag of organic waste to compost. Leaving the clippings on the lawn and composting them are both very green solutions, but the team at EcoMow has an even better option: use them for power.

In addition to spinning blades, the EcoMow prototype contains a “bar cutter” and “pelletizers.” Together, these technologies press the grass into pellets much like a meat grinder would. “The formed pellets obtained by harvesting are dropped into a collection bin where they are progressively dried with hot air from the gasifier. Dried pellets are then converted to a fuel gas in a device called a gasifier,” explains the EcoMow website.

The partial combustion gasifier uses high temperature to convert the gas pellets to a fuel usable in a conventional gas engine. The fuel is filtered, cooled, and mixed with air before it is used. An internal alternator generates power for electrically driven components and computer control, guidance, and communications. Of course, some of this fuel is used to keep the mower running, but it can also be put to other uses.

“An application I’m pursuing is having little micro grids set up in East Africa where the units would go harvest during the night and then come back and plug themselves in to a power unit during the day and supply power to the local region during the day,” EcoMow’s Jason Force told Treehugger.

+ EcoMow

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1 Comment

  1. meteoro4594 April 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Unfortunately reality is not linear or Newtonian. It is complex and eco-systemic. But in 2014 we still think linear and here is one example. Products like these are examples of the trap that linear thinking poses to sustainability. This lawnmower is NOT a truly green solution as it perpetuates our current ecologically dis-functional status quo and the actual root cause of the environmental problem which is not so much the pollution and energy depletion associated with the use gasoline motors in lawn mowers. The actual root cause is the existence of the lawn in the first place. The environmental cost of turning prairies or forests into lawns means the destruction of habitat, life and the ecosystems that collectively sustain our life. Promoting products like these is ironically worse than keeping the dirty old-fashioned gas option which can raise awareness about the un-sustainability of the whole system, lawn plus lawn mower. By reducing greenness from the system to just one element of the system, the lawn mower, I will admit there is a reduction in environmental footprint. However such environmental improvement is more than offset by the loss of opportunity to raise awareness on the ecological damage of lawns. Such type of reductionist green thinking which by the way is common in the implementation of many clean technologies such as renewable energy generators without the required energy storage, also prevents the development of creativity that is needed to assure the radical transformation in our human socio-technical infrastructure that it will take to assure a healthy and sustainable future.

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