Pictou County company wins $100,000 prize

Sean Kelly
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LST Energy Inc., a Pictou (Nova Scotia) company that devised a new, efficient method for burning hay for energy, has won a $100,000 regional first-place prize in a technology start-up competition.

Pictou, NS -

LST Energy Inc., a Pictou (Nova Scotia) company that devised a new, efficient method for burning hay for energy, has won a $100,000 regional first-place prize in a technology start-up competition.
Comprised of Gus Swanson, Jim Trussler and Philip Landry, LST built several furnaces, each designed to burn hay pellets - and all three involved believe the technology could be a game-changing development for bio-energy.
"It's a start on the first million," Swanson said, chuckling about the prize, which was offered by Innovacorp. So far, he said LST has built four furnaces of different sizes. And, when The News contacted him and Landry yesterday (Jan. 25), the two said they were working on a prototype design. At least one of the company's furnaces is already up and running. When LST advanced to the final round of the I-3 competition, they had one installed at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
"It's going good. It's been over there for a couple of months. We've got a guy from the Department of Agriculture looking after it. He's a pretty good man on it and he says it's working fine," Swanson said.
Trussler said yesterday the credit goes to his colleague's desire to help farmers.
"I would like to say congratulations to Gus Swanson. This has been a dream of his for a long time.
"This will be an important product-I think it will make money and I think it will create jobs and opportunities in Pictou County-but this is Gus Swanson and his effort to help farmers, that's his motivation."
In the past, burning hay for heat has posed one major challenge: the presence of sand and potassium chloride creates incombustible deposits, which are sometimes called clinkers. Swanson's innovation solved the problem.
So as long as the sun shines and hay can be made-into pellets-LST has a fuel source for their product: one they say is cheap, renewable and carbon neutral.
"There's untapped energy right across North America and Europe, which can be used to heat your houses, water… That's what we're shooting for, a big industry in North America and Europe," Landry said. "And we'd like it to start here in Nova Scotia. If we don't get it going soon, somebody else will. It's going to take off."
Innovacorp will announce a final, provincial prize, again valued at $100,000, on Feb. 9 and LST is still in the running for that.
In the meantime, Swanson and company are continuing to refine their efforts and have begun working on a design for a pellet mill to manufacture the fuel in a ready-to-use form.
"You know, hay is the cheapest energy we've got in Canada and farmer's hay fields are the next great source of heat. And it's right in our backyard. So, why are we importing heat from around the world?" Swanson asked.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Energy Inc., Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: Pictou County, Nova Scotia, North America Europe Canada

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