wood pellets

Southern Tier Bulk Wood Pellet Program

The Southern Tier Bulk Wood Pellet Infrastructure Boost Program is working to promote the use of pellet stoves and pellet boilers to replace fossil fuels (heating oil and LPG, in particular). One of the most significant current problems with pellet stoves is the inconvenience of purchasing pellets in large quantities. The Program addresses this by creating the infrastructure to deliver pellets in bulk, similar to the delivery of heating oil or propane.

The program was originally funded by New York State's Cleaner, Greener Communities grant program and was a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Ehrhart Energy (in Ithaca and Trumansburg NY), New England Wood Pellet (in Deposit NY), and MESA Reduction Engineering (in Auburn NY). The program officially closed in 2018, but the infrastructure developed during that time remains in place to serve the community.

This Program addresses three critical areas:

(1) significant greenhouse gas reductions by switching customers from fossil fuels to a renewable, low-net-carbon fuel;
(2) increasing the availability of and easy access to a local, low-cost fuel, which can save businesses significant amounts of money, while promoting local jobs and keeping energy dollars circulating locally; and
(3) better forest management and diversification of forest products.

Ultimately, the program achieved the installation of a wood pellet storage depot located in Trumansburg, which allows Ehrhart to serve a wide area in and around Central NY and the Southern Tier. Additional efforts to fund a truck load-out system to be installed at New England Wood Pellet's manufacturing plant in Deposit and of two trucks, one to be owned by Ehrhart and one by Mesa, to deliver the pellets to both homes and businesses did not succeed, but some of that groundwork remains. 

The program also established two commercial demonstration heating projects, one at Schaefer's Gardens in Triangle, and the other at Hanford Mills Museum, in East Meredith. These will act as sources of information for commercial, institutional, and industrial entities about the performance, operation, and maintenance of larger pellet boilers. They will also provide performance information and are available to host educational tours for the public. 

Calculations of Savings:
  • The Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Regional Sustainability Plan found that residents of counties in the Southern Tier use approximately 4.1 trillion BTU of fuel oil and 2.6 trillion BTU of propane; while the commercial sector contributes another 2.4 trillion BTU of fuel oil and 0.7 trillion BTU of propane. If just 10% of these homes and businesses switch to wood pellets, it would reduce carbon emissions by 69,043 metric tons CO2e/yr (MTCO2e).[1]
  • We estimated that had all the planned initiatives been able to be implemented, in year 1 alone, the Program has the potential to result in over 1860 tons of wood pellets displacing nearly 218,000 gallons of fuel oil. This would result in approximately $465,250 in wood pellet retail sales replacing $838,287in oil sales.[2]

We have more information about programs available to save home and business owners on purchasing wood and pellet-fired heating systems, as well as energy efficiency work, on our Wood Pellet Boiler/Stove Funding page.

If you are a homeowner or business and would like to have wood pellets delivered in bulk (not bagged, but loose pellets delivered to a storage system at your home or business), please contact Ehrhart Energy directly: 607-387-8881.


[1] Based on U.S. EPA conversion factors found at:
      www.epa.gov/p2/pubs/resources/GHGConversion.xls.

[2] Roughly 4 tons pellets/home/heating season; 117g oil/ton of pellets = 46,800g residential oil replaced; ~336 tons of pellets replacing ~ 26,691 gallons of oil commercial (one site), and ~1,809,412 total cubic feet of gas commercial (two sites); plus expect 10 more commercial sites to be converted by end of yr 1 (this is a reasonable estimate based on the fact that we were able to recruit 3 sites and nearly a couple more in just ~2 weeks), resulting in 1861 tons sold (at cost of ~$465,250) and 217,737g oil displaced (if all oil) at cost of $838,287 (if use price of $3.85, adjusted from 7/29/13 NYSERDA data not just considering inflation/increases, but fluctuations throughout year) (average price in our area = ~$3.75/oil (NYSERDA Energy Price Data 7/29/2013))

Last updated July 3, 2019