to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
Southern Tier Group Seeks to Expand Wood-Pellet Heating
A team involving Cornell Cooperative Extension in eight Southern Tier counties, Ehrhart Propane and Oil of Trumansburg, MESA Reduction Engineering and Process of Aurora, New England Wood Pellet, and several businesses is seeking to jumpstart the bulk wood pellet business in the region.
If a grant they’ve written for the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council comes through, a truck for delivering wood pellets would be purchased for Ehrhart; a bulk-loading system would be installed at the New England Wood Pellet plant in Deposit; and several demonstration sites using commercial-scale pellet-fired boilers for space heating would be set up.
Among the concerns signed on for demonstration sites are Gimme Coffee! for its Jacksonville coffee roasting plant, Challenge Workforce Solutions’ Finger Lakes Fresh greenhouse under construction in Groton, and Schaefer’s Gardens wholesale greenhouse in Triangle, Chenango County.
The project aims to boost use of renewable fuels for home heating, the biggest energy use in the Northeast,. It’d also lead to cleaner air, said Gulliermo Metz, the green building and renewable energy program coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County in Ithaca.
Pellet stoves are fed at a controlled rate into a fire box for optimum efficiency and heat output, and thus typically burn much more cleanly than cord-wood stoves and require less operator attention, Metz said.
Pellets typically come in 40-pound bags that have to be stored and handled. They are still not as convenient for many people who have their heating-oil tanks or propane containers regularly filled by a delivery company like Ehrhart
But with a truck outfitted with pneumatic pellet-handling equipment, Ehrhart could fill a bulk pellet bin just as it now fills a customer’s fuel-oil tank. The truck would be loaded with the pneumatic out-loader at the Deposit pellet plant.
In addition, Ehrhart plans to offer installation of equipment that would then send pellets from the bin to a pellet-fueled boiler or forced-air furnace.
Counties involved are Tompkins, Broome, Chenango, Tioga, Steugen, Delaware, Schuyler, and Chemung.