Hudson Valley Grass Energy has developed a full-scale mobile grass pelleting mill, truly a first of its kind.
The mill took several years to research and develop but is now producing at one ton per hour. The company plans to ramp it up to two tons by the end of the year. The machine accepts raw agricultural materials- leftover hay and residues, to refine them into high-quality, transportable pellet heating fuel. These “grass pellets” can be burned in a variety of wood pellet and multi-fuel stoves and furnaces. Although they contain comparable BTUs they do have considerably higher ash (2-5%) than premium wood pellets (<1%).
Grass pellets are considered carbon-neutral because the carbon released during combustion is equal to that absorbed during growing season. Certain grasses that have deep roots are actually capable of sequestering additional carbon. Grasses used for biomass pellets can be leached thereby returning nutrients to the soil. Finally, ash can be spread back on farmlands in a managed way making grass pellets of little negative impact.
One of my favorite benefits of grass pellets is the opportunity for farmer’s to keep land open and productive, making their operations more economically viable. This in turn will help provide access to local food in the future. Let’s hope this technology catches on. Eat local, heat local.
Movie by Christopher Smith