Willow biomass the next best thing in renewable energy


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) is launching an outreach and training program to develop commercial-scale production of willow biomass as a renewable, sustainable energy source -- bridging the gap between developing technology and practical use -- as part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Council Initiative.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/MJ Richardson

The training program is receiving $397,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and builds upon the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass Crop Assistance Project (BCAP), which awarded $1.2 million to landowners and producers in 2012 to support the establishment and maintenance of up to 1,200 acres of willow biomass crops.

As a renewable resource, willow is planted once and can be harvested every three years. A single planting can result in up to seven harvests over 22 years. To date, this project is the largest expansion of willow biomass crops in North America.

"Willow biomass crops are being developed as a source of renewable energy that can be grown on marginal agricultural land in New York and across the northeast and Midwest United States. The 1,200 acres of willow biomass crops in this project in northern New York is the largest expansion of this system to date in North America," said Cornelius B. Murphy Jr., president, SUNY-ESF. "The funding that NYSERDA is providing to support the expansion of willow biomass crops in northern New York is essential not only for the success of this project but also to lay the groundwork for future expansion of this renewable energy industry."

For more:
- see this report

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