Energy grasses show potential for thermal energy in Vermont

By Staff | June 25, 2014

A recent report published by Wilson Engineering on behalf of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative explores the potential of growing and harvesting energy grasses for thermal energy in Vermont.

Four different grass energy project models are evaluated in the paper, including an in-depth analysis of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each. The paper explores a closed-loop model, a small-scale, on-farm model, a regional model, and a consumer model. The report indicates the regional processing model would make sense for Vermont. It includes a central processing plant that would purchase baled biomass from local farmers and process that feedstock into cubes, briquettes or pellets for delivery to commercial or institutional thermal installations.

The report also notes millions of acres of idle and marginal lands in the Northeast are conducive for growing these energy crops. As the market for bioenergy products develops, they could provide am impact source of feedstock for heat, fiber or liquid fuels production.