Archive for August, 2011

Action Items Poll

The Action Items Poll is now closed.  Thank you for voting.


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The following two posts are comments on the first July 20th Grass Energy in NY meeting at Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden (which has now become the Agricultural Biomass Interest Group Meeting  – ABIG – do we want that acronym?).   I’ve been on vacation so I do apologize – they are a little late.

The meeting’s participants have since been enumerating action item lists – as mentioned in the posts  – via email and now will have to prioritize them.    Alice Brumbach from the NY State Biomass Energy Alliance (NYBEA), who will be presenting the action items to the NYBEA Board of Directors meeting on August 15,  is requesting that,  in addition to selecting the top priority general action items,  they are broken down into smaller action steps detailing how to accomplish them.

For example, the action item of  “Define a grass pellet standard that fits grass and differentiates it from wood pellet standards” might need to be re-phrased to “Advise us on who determines a grass pellet standard, and the steps needed to accomplish this.”  Or, if we know this already, then the steps should be listed.

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First off….Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting on July 20th at TC3. It was great to get everyone around a table for a face to face discussion about the barriers and future of grass energy within NY. To those of you that could not attend, we will be putting together a synopsis of the days discussions and you are welcome to contribute to the rolling list of 3 action items that you would like to see for the future. The deadline for those contributions is August 12th.

We have several projects coming up that we are just starting to develop. One of them has been in the works and should get restarted sometime in September. Lois Kang from the SET program in Tioga County will be issuing some updates on the program schedule very soon. I have hopes that many of you will still be available to contribute to the program!

I am looking forward to see what In Shik Lee from TC3 will be able to develop through her hard work and dedication to assisting with the promotion of biomass too. I am sure she will have more updates for us as time goes on.

As for Broome Biomass, we are headed to the Biofeedstock field day on August 3rd and then headed to Kentucky to visit with the folks at LEI products (the manufacturer of the Bio-Burner). We will be bringing a unit back with us and will be completing some test burns over the course of the winter. We are looking forward to a long working relationship as representatives in this area for them.

We will be taking lots of pictures and possibly even some videos that we will be sharing over the next month or so. There will be much more news from us within our next post!

Til then…Doreen

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The greater grass energy community of New York State met on July 20th to touch base on our current projects and research. As the summer intern for the St. Lawrence County Grass Energy Working Group, I am new to this conversation and gained a lot of insight on the current projects at hand. The major problems we addressed were how to establish specifically a grass energy market and how to further emissions testing to meet EPA and DEC standards. We need to grasp the public and media’s attention about the potential of a grass energy market in New York State. In St. Lawrence County, this has been done on a small scale by distributing a survey and informational cards to the community to gain their opinion on our current project. This has proved beneficial and provided feedback that many residents are interested in a biomass market but do not know how efficient and useful it would be in their homes. The driving force fueling this opinion is the installation cost and maintenance associated with using a pellet stove.
This leads to one of our next agenda points, promote small-scale commercial biomass operations instead of residential as these outlets will provide better use for agricultural based biomass. In order to promote this type of market, we proposed using conferences or home-shows. The Heat the North East Conference is scheduled to be in Saratoga Springs March of 2012 and our hope is that grass energy will be a focus. In addition, there is a proposal to host our own biomass conference within the next year where all spectrums of the grass energy lifestyle will be present from producers to end-users. Finally, the participants of the meeting signed a petition dedicated ourselves to the state’s grass energy project. It is our hope, with more lobby and support from the public, that a list of supporters will prompt agencies like NYSERDA and USDA to fund our projects.
In the world of emission testing, the cellulose and chlorine content of grass is the cause of higher ash content and greater fluctuations in emissions. Further research needs to be dedicated to emission testing before a proper market can be implemented. There are a few hang ups in the process of testing emissions including utilizing the proper furnaces, testing high vs. low ash pellets and lowering the chlorine content of the actual pellet to avoid spikes in harmful emissions. Researchers like Jerry Cherney, are playing a bit of a waiting game on emission testing waiting for pellets with different ash contents to arrive.
The final agenda point of the meeting was for everyone to compile his or her three most important action steps to have The New York Biomass Energy Alliance present to NYSERDA in favor of grass energy. The Energy Alliance board will vote in mid-August about our proposal. I think, that by banning together as a state-wide working group, we will be able to grasp the attention of missing resources and make New York State the front runner in grass pellet energy.

Emily Grilli
St. Lawrence County Grass Energy Working Group
St. Lawrence University 2013

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