Clarkson among 18 institutions selected to split $3 million in wood heating funds
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 5:34 pm

Clarkson University is  among 18 research institutions, developers, and businesses that will split $3 million in funds geared toward development of high-efficiency, low-emission wood-fired heating equipment.

The $3 million is to be split between 18 research institutions, technology developers, and biomass-fuel businesses, according to prepared statement by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The projects to receive funding support the governor’s Renewable Heat NY program. The program is designed to encourage the expansion of the biomass heating market, support the development of advanced technology heating products, develop local sustainable heating markets, and encourage the use of renewable fuel.

Projects will also evaluate real-world conditions of biomass-fired heating systems, expand the bulk wood pellet delivery market, and assess the health risks of wood smoke in rural valley communities, Cuomo said.

Clarkson University’s main campus will receive $80,000 to study the presence of carbon monoxide in wood pellet storage facilities and in the laboratory due to a phenomenon known as "off-gassing."

With the growth of wood pellet-based heating systems, off-gassing may present a health risk due to build-up of carbon monoxide under some circumstances. This study will investigate methods to improve air quality in pellet storage areas.

Clarkson University will also receive $267,500 to install two fully automatic high-efficiency and low- emissions wood pellet boilers in Saranac Lake residential communities.

One boiler will be placed in a shipping container outside one home, while the second boiler will be placed in the basement of a second home.

The advanced wood pellet heating systems will include thermal storage tanks and bulk pellet storage to enable a fully automatic system with maximum seasonal efficiency.

This project will evaluate for two years the performance and emissions of these made-in-New York units under cold winter conditions.

“By investing in advanced biomass technologies across the state, we are actively reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and building a greener New York,” Cuomo said. "Under our Renewable Heat NY initiative, we are supporting projects that phase out old, inefficient, and polluting technologies and helping to grow the biomass clean energy industry. These efforts will encourage economic growth in local communities and contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment for New Yorkers."

The funding was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Energy and Environmental Performance of Biomass-fired Heating Equipment Program, which encourages the entry of high-efficiency biomass technologies into the marketplace.

In addition, as part of the Renewable Heat NY initiative, NYSERDA is developing a Biomass Heating Roadmap for New York State to assess policy strategies and economic and environmental impacts.

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