The biomass industry has grown considerably over the past decade, with even more growth scheduled for this year and the upcoming years. Only two years ago, a global research firm predicted that biomass would triple in growth by 2030, which is now only 15 years away. And more entrepreneurs and investors are turning to biomass as a way to break into the fastest-growing segment of the energy industry in a nation that is as energy-thirsty as it ever was.
Two projects that were recently announced – one on each coast – show how biomass is moving forward at the state level.
Grant Awarded for Forest Biomass Gasification Plant in California
On the West Coast, $4.9 million was awarded in the form of a grant to North Fork Community Power for its forest bioenergy project.
This grant money will be used to construct one of the first biomass gasification plants that uses forest biomass for its fuel source. The biomass will come from local forests, including the Sierra National Forest located south of Yosemite National Park, and will be harvested using sustainable recovery methods.
The plant will first be built with a 1 Mw capacity and will receive financing from the grant provided by the California Energy Commission, as well as investors in the private sector and surrounding communities.
New York Announces Kickoff of 15 Biomass Projects
On the opposite coast, the state of New York has announced the beginning of 15 projects that will deliver high-efficiency, low-emission wood pellet-fired heating for a variety of residential and commercial projects in the northern half of the state.
This is a result of the Renewable Heat NY initiative, launched in 2014 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The projects will include:
- Three 70-ton pellet storage silos
- Eight high-efficiency pellet boiler systems for commercial use
- Seven residential high-efficiency pellet boiler systems
They will be spread out across the Mohawk Valley and North Country in cities like Utica, Clinton, Cold Brook, Potsdam, Cleveland, and Barnevald.
If successful, these 15 projects could be the impetus needed to jumpstart a wave of biomass energy projects across the Northeast, which has an ample supply of fuel needed for energy production.