University of Vermont

Grass Biomass Energy
Vermont Grass Biomass Energy Project
Switchgrass Harvesting_Grass_Trial_UVM09 Roundbales

Almost a third of Vermont’s total energy demand is for heating purposes and nearly 60% of the heating fuel used in the state is No.2 heating oil.  Perennial forage grasses have the potential to be utilized as a biomass fuel for heating which could displace heating oil, a petroleum product subject to fluctuating prices.  How much of Vermont's demand for fossil-derived fuels can be offset with local, renewable grasses? UVM Extension and the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as part of the Vermont Grass Energy Partnership, is working to evaluate the limits of grass as a fuel feedstock, by studying the agronomy, chemical analysis, combustion performance, emissions and economic feasibility of grass-derived fuels. This site is devoted to agronomic research updates on the project as well as linkages to partner sites and other important grass energy resources.

Project Reports
Vermont Bioenergy Initiative Report to the US Dept. of Energy (Sept. 2016)
An Update on Recent Testing of Grass and Ag Biomass Burning - 2016 
Vermont Farmers Food Center Heats with Biomass - 2016 

Evaluation of Warm Season Grasses for Biomass Potential  in Vermont 2010 to 2013 

Evaluation of Intermediate Wheatgrass, Tall Wheatgrass and Reed Canarygrass for Biomass Potential in Vermont
Evaluation of a Seed Vigor Test and Seed Dormancy on Germination of Switchgrass
Nitrogen Fertilization, Time of Harvest and Soil Drainage Effects on Switchgrass Biomass Production and Fuel Quality
Biomass Production Potential on "Marginal" Land in Vermont   
A Technical Assessment of Grass Pellets as a Boiler Fuel in Vermont, January 2011
An Interim Assessment of the Vermont Technical College Pellitizer 2012

Grass Energy: The Basics on Production, Processing and Combustion of Grasses for Energy
Factsheet: Establishing Warm Season Grasses for Biomass In Vermont
Factsheet: Establishment and Management of Switchgrass (Cornell)  
Factsheet: Switchgrass Production in Ontario - A Management Guide
Grass Biomass Production and Harvest Cost Estimator (spreadsheet)

Across The Fence Videos

Across The Fence Program on the Grass Energy Project (Part 1), 6/18/12
Across The Fence Program on the Grass Energy Project (Part 2) , 6/19/12
Across The Fence Program on the Grass Energy Research at Meach Cove Farms, 11/4/15

Grass Biomass Project Partners
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Montpelier, VT
Biomass Energy Resource Center, Montpelier, VT
Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, VT
Meach Cove Farm Trust, Shelburne, VT
Borderview Farm, Alburg, VT
Lincoln Farm, Randolph Center, VT

Links to Other Biomass Energy Sites
Grass Bioenergy - from Cornell Uninversity  
UVM Extension Ag Engineering
Penn State Biomass Energy Center
REAP Canada - Switchgrass Biomass Research/Education  
eXtension - Biofuel Production
U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Program

For more information about grass biomass in Vermont, contact:
Sid Bosworth, UVM Extension Agronomist -
Chris Callahan , UVM Extension Engineer -
Alexander DePillis, VT Agency of Agriculture -

The Vermont Crops and Soils Homepage provides these linkages for your access to more information, but we do not necessarily agree nor endorse all the information and ideas that you may find on some of these links.

This site is maintained by, Plant & Soil Science Department, University of Vermont.

Sponsored by:

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont.University of Vermont Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, or marital or familial status

Last modified September 15 2017 11:07 AM

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