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News stories tagged with "biomass"

Cornell researcher Brian Richards stands in a switch grass field that's part of NEWBio project. Photo: Matt Richmond
Cornell researcher Brian Richards stands in a switch grass field that's part of NEWBio project. Photo: Matt Richmond

Maximizing "marginal" land for biofuel

Solar and wind power get a lot of the attention as promising alternative power sources. But energy extracted from plants, known as biofuels, is also the subject of ongoing research.

Researchers at Cornell University are testing the growing potential of less-than-ideal open space.  Go to full article
SUNY Potsdam biology major Stefan Sloma and professor Robert Ewy at the school's willow stand in Potsdam.
SUNY Potsdam biology major Stefan Sloma and professor Robert Ewy at the school's willow stand in Potsdam.

Growing willows for fuel

This summer, NCPR is taking a second look at the realities of alternative and renewable energy in our region. Some advocates think locally-generated energy, from hydro to solar to wind and biomass, could be the next big thing for the region's economy.

Biologists at SUNY Potsdam plan to harvest their first crop of shrub willows from a field near campus this fall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has earmarked $4.3 million to encourage North Country farmers to grow willows as a renewable energy source.  Go to full article
Chris Rdzanek, manager of museum facilities at The Wild Center, shows off the new boiler (PHOTO:  Brian Mann)
Chris Rdzanek, manager of museum facilities at The Wild Center, shows off the new boiler (PHOTO: Brian Mann)

As outdoor wood boilers draw fire, a new generation of wood heat comes on line

While the debate rages over pollution of outdoor wood boilers, a new generation of wood heat systems is already being rolled out.

Scientists and manufacturers say so-called "wood gasification" boilers burn much more efficiently with far less smoke and ash. A new, state-of-the-art boiler is now on-line at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, burning wood pellets produced in Massena.

As Brian Mann reports, the manufacturer hopes to sell similar systems to businesses and government offices across the North Country.  Go to full article

No tax credit for biomass

When Congress approved production tax credits for renewable energy, not every industry got the same treatment. Biomass power is not getting the subsidies that other alternative energy sources get. Lester Graham reports.  Go to full article

Using wood to fuel power plants

There are a growing number of proposals to build wood-burning biomass power plants in the Northeast. Some environmentalists say wood can be a renewable low-carbon fuel. But others aren't convinced. As part of a collaboration with public radio stations in the Northeast, WNPR's Nancy Cohen reports.  Go to full article

Energy bill to include boost for biomass?

Congress could wrap up a huge energy bill by this fall. It could include a minimum renewable energy standard for utilities. That'd mean more wind and solar-generated power. Shawn Allee reports biomass could get a boost, too.  Go to full article

Fair offers help with home heat decisions

High heating fuel prices, especially home heating oil prices, are adding urgency to routine preparations for winter. Counties and communities are trying to get ahead of what's expected to be a very tough winter. Jeff Loomis of Energy Answers in Massena, has been conducting energy audits since 1983. His business now is primarily energy conservation, wood pellets, wood gasification. He's the keynote speaker at a a one day heating and energy fair at SUNY Canton from 1 to 5 tomorrow. He told David Sommerstein he hopes to help people struggling with some very practical decisions.  Go to full article
Tom Lee surveys the switchgrass plots he planted this spring.
Tom Lee surveys the switchgrass plots he planted this spring.

Grass pellets: growing the North Country's own energy

The price of oil has been going down lately, but people are still worried about heating their homes this winter. The skyrocketing prices of oil and natural gas are fueling a run on pellet stoves. A winter's heat from pellet stoves can cost half of that from an oil furnace. Dealers across the North Country report they can't keep up with demand. The pellets themselves are made from wood scraps at factories across North America. But alternative energy and agricultural leaders believe high prices are hastening the day when pellets are made from grass. And they hope that grass will be grown right here in the North Country. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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