Carnegie Mellon University

Kwaku Jyamfi, Chief Executive Officer, Farm to Flame Energy

Engineering Cleaner, Cheaper Energy for Farmers

What if you found out you had a squeaky-clean, green source of energy literally in your backyard, and you almost threw it out? That’s the idea Kwaku Jyamfi (ENG 2020) is getting out to the farmers and business owners of the world. He invites them to harness his technology to transform their trash into biofuel through his new company, Farm to Flame Energy.

Kwaku’s technology refines agricultural refuse, like sawdust or corn stalks, into a biomass powder, which is then burned cleanly inside a generation station constructed from a repurposed shipping container. With this technology, a farm’s own waste can provide enough energy to power its operations. In the United States, it’s efficient and cost-effective energy. But in places where the energy grid is unreliable, and farmers have few energy alternatives, it’s a real game changer.

“In Nigeria, they use diesel generators for over eight hours a day during power blackouts,” Kwaku says. “We see the same thing in India and also in Puerto Rico, after [Hurricane Maria].”

These diesel generators emit carbon monoxide, excessive carbon dioxide and smoke and can be unhealthy — and expensive — for farmers and the environment. By using Farm to Flame generators, farmers can lower their environmental footprints while also saving money.

“They end up spending way too much money on diesel every year, so that's really the big impact we're going to have,” Kwaku says.

Farm to Flame can process waste at their facility based just outside of Pittsburgh or bring a mobile unit to a farm to create the biomass fuel on site. A small number of locations in Pennsylvania are beginning to use the technology, and plans are underway for international locations.

Story by Elizabeth Speed