Like the SUNY-ESF research to cool Downtown Syracuse with water from Lake Ontario, the project discussed in the local newspaper, excerpted below, is another promising step on the route to a sustainable energy future, led by my own college.
Syracuse, NY — Farmers in Oswego County beginning next week will be able to sign up to grow willows as part of a renewable energy fuel project.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $4.3 million to be paid to Central and Northern New York farmers to grow willow to burn to make electricity. The project is a collaboration of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the ReEnergy Co.
SUNY-ESF, which has been studying using willows as a renewable energy source since 1986, will offer an outreach program to educate local government officials, agricultural leaders, farmers and landowners about the opportunity to grow willow. ReEnergy operates plants that use biomass and waste residues to produce thermal and electric energy.
And, in another part of the article, Tim Volk describes the production and harvesting conditions for willow.
Volk said the willow will be grown on 3,500 acres of marginal farmland that is considered poor for other crops. He said willow grows well in wet soils and is pretty tolerant of adverse weather condition.
The first harvest of willow takes place four years after it is planted. It then is harvested again every three years, Volk said, adding it is an easy crop to grow and requires very little management.