Delaware County's Grass Bio-Energy Pilot Project, run by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, is focused on grass bioenergy feedstock production, and the use of grass pellets for residential and commercial heating. Funds come from the Catskill Watershed Corporation. The general focus is public outreach, and demonstrating that grass pellets can be used for residential and small commercial use. CCE plans to educate the public about which grasses work well, and how to use the pellets. As far as feedstock production, the short term goal is to develop an adequate and reliable source of high quality grass for pelleting. Long term, the project aims to develop a local feedstock supply industry that would be able to meet an increased future demand.
In terms of end-use goals, the focus of the project is setting up grass pellet-fueled stoves and hydronic furnaces for five demonstration sites in Delaware and Greene Counties. The furnaces being used were primarily wood pellet and corn furnaces that were modified to avoid the formation of clinkers. Their outdoor hydronic units cost about $8,500, in addition to a bin that holds up to a ton of pellets, and cost about $4,000 to install. They are using outdoor boilers tested by Jerry Cherney at Cornell University, but have had some modifications for dealing with ash. The indoor stoves were far less costly to install, and ran about $3,200- $4,200 for each stove itself. The two units used were the Quadrifire Mt. Vernon (the same currently being used to heat the Big Red Barn on Cornell campus), and the Harmon P68 Pellet Stove. Both types were tested by Dr. Cherney, and none have required mechanical modifications. CCEDC is also trying out another type untested by Cherney. Paul Cerosaletti, the Senior Resource Educator of the Precision Feed Management program at CCE Delaware County (p: 607-865-6531, e: email@example.com), reports that the stoves that work the best are those that are insensitive to the quality of the biomass going in. Additionally, some people have mixed grass pellets from Enviro Energy (see listing for Enviro Energy), the company that pellets the product used by CCE, with wood pellets and burned the blend with high success.
Last updated May 23, 2015