Corn for Home Heat: A Green Idea That Never Quite Popped
Burning kernels provides clean energy, but it takes muscle and increasingly more cash.
Takoma Park, Maryland—On an exceptionally frigid day in this Washington, D.C., suburb, a modest black stove in the Ikle-Khalsa family's living room was keeping the house warm. Every few seconds, it emitted a low grinding sound as a motor pushed more fuel into the fire.
The stove runs on dried corn kernels, which Sat Jiwan Ikle-Khalsa hauls by the bucketful from a communal bin a mile and a half away. He manages a small cooperative where members pay a fee to access the hopper, which sits on city land, and use an honor system to record their withdrawals.
The Save Our Sky co-op bills corn as an inexpensive heat source that's low in heat-trapping carbon emissions and supports a local