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Buerkley invention an IDEA finalist

Don Buerkely's America Log Maker is a finalist in this year's IDEA Competition. His horses serve as inspiration and a materials source for his invention. (Submitted photo)

Don and Sandra Buerkley of Park Rapids are among the seven finalists for this year's IDEA competition, their America Log Maker capturing the judges' nod.

Don Buerkley, a 40-year horse owner and former engineer with 3M, combined experiences to create the compression system for recycling barn waste. The process produces dry, no odor "logs" that fuel outdoor stoves, providing auxiliary heating in barns or homes

Horse manure, he explained, holds undigested fiber - hay pulp - that is similar to wood pulp. After dealing with getting rid of the waste for many years, he devised a practical compression system to transform manure into a form of renewable energy. He's harnessing the hay, so to speak, and teaching new logs old tricks.

"The Log Maker is a way for horse owners to recycle waste into biomass logs to heat buildings, while eliminating piling, pest control and hauling. It's renewable energy from their own barns," the Park Rapids Area High School alum summarizes of his "green" product.

He's currently seeking feedback from those with horses and exterior stoves to weigh interest in the product, which he plans to produce in the Park Rapids area.

He may be reached at or at 715-671-5749.

The Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneur Acceleration is a project of Ingenuity Frontier, "a collaboration of partners joined by a common purpose - to grow the economy of northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace."

The 2012 IDEA Competition winners will be announced at the awards banquet to be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 at the Sanford Center, Bemidji. Winners receive $10,000 in cash plus technical assistance to advance their business idea.