Midwest-based American Energy Systems has introduced its flagship product, the Countryside Corn Stove, into the European market. The company has tripled its production capacity to accommodate projected demand in the new markets being served.Hutchinson, Minnesota – December 26, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “There has been an overwhelming increase in demand for corn stoves driving growth in both North America and Europe,” said Mike Haefner, founder and president of American Energy Systems. “The primary impetus in the rapidly growing European market is high fuel costs, causing people to seek out alternative heating options that use renewable fuels. The Countryside is the ideal choice for consumers who are both environmentally sensitive and cost-conscious.” American Energy Systems reported that demand for corn stoves has seen continued growth in the U.S. and international markets. In 2001, sales of corn-burning appliances were up 500 percent. Last year, approximately 35 manufacturers introduced their own versions of the corn stove. According to American Energy Systems, the low cost of corn combined with volatile energy markets spurred early sales of the corn appliance — and additional interest came from consumers looking for an environmentally friendly way to warm their homes with a low-cost, efficient renewable resource. Haefner believes that Europeans will enthusiastically welcome the Countryside because it is an environmentally sensitive stove, and uses renewable fuel. “People are fascinated with the concept of burning corn, especially when they learn it helps their local farmer,” said Haefner. “The environmental benefits are undeniable, but perhaps best of all, it’s pocketbook friendly.” The Countryside is a multi-fuel stove that is capable of burning several types of biomass, including wheat, a popular European alternative fuel. The technology for utilizing biomass fuels is making renewable energy sources a very real option for consumers seeking an inexpensive alternative to fuel oil, coal, natural gas, or other fossil fuels. A seasonally renewable crop, corn can be grown nearly anywhere in as little as four months, making it an accessible, low-cost fuel that can be purchased at feed stores or directly from farmers. According to American Energy Systems, the electricity required to operate the Countryside is equivalent to the energy drawn by two 100-watt light bulbs. The company claims that the relatively small and easy-to-install corn-burning stove provides approximately 50,000 BTUs, or enough radiant heat to warm a two-thousand square foot home. Nearly two days’ worth of corn (75 pounds) can be stored in the stove’s hopper, which then self-loads the corn into the burner with the low-energy electric auger. In Europe, the Countryside Corn Stove will initially be available in France and Belgium, with the first container ship expected to arrive before the end of the year. American Energy Systems plans to expand into Germany, Sweden, Italy and Spain by the end of 2004. Currently, in the U.S. and Canada, nearly 600 dealers sell American Energy Systems’ Magnum Corn Furnace, Countryside Freestanding Stove, and fireplace insert.