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. The Program addresses this by creating the infrastructure to deliver pellets in bulk, similar to the delivery of heating oil or propane.

The program is being funded by New York State's Cleaner, Greener Communities grant program and is being executed by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Ehrhart Energy (in Ithaca and Trumansburg NY), New England Wood Pellet (in Deposit NY), and MESA Reduction Engineering (in Auburn NY).

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.

A truck load-out system will be installed at New England Wood Pellet's manufacturing plant, while Ehrhart Energy and MESA Reduction Engineering will operate two trucks to deliver the pellets to both homes and businesses. Additionally, there will be a wood pellet storage depot located in Ithaca.

The program is also working to establish several commercial demonstration heating projects. These will act as sources of information for commercial, institutional or industrial entities about the performance, operation and maintenance of larger pellet boilers. They will also provide performance information and host educational tours for the public. Another benefit of the demonstration projects is that they will jumpstart the demand for bulk pellet fuel and delivery, which will improve the economics of delivery for the region.

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]
  • 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 home owner and would like to have wood pellets delivered, you can contact the service providers [link to come]

If you are interested in having pellets delivered to a commercial entity, please contact Guillermo Metz at 607-272-2292 or gm52@cornell.edu.

[1] Based on U.S. EPA conversion factors found at:

[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 June 18, 2018