Seed Company Proposes Biomass Facility in Pennsylvania

One new program at the upcoming Energy from Biomass and Waste (EBW) Expo & Conference on September 25-27, 2007 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will further the effort to create energy from biomass through growing high-energy switchgrass and other warm season grasses.

By following a number of projects evaluating different types of feedstock and machinery, Ernst Conservation Seeds, the company behind this effort, is planning the construction and operation of a large-scale grass/biomass densification facility in Crawford County.

This facility, which will supply grass biomass pellets to residential and commercial heating and power markets in western Pennsylvania and beyond, will serve as definitive proof of concept, and will be able to be replicated throughout Pennsylvania. Harvesting energy domestically from clean resources is just one positive aspect of this bioenergy venture. Others include economic growth, ending exploitation of natural resources, and creating an industry that is financially viable and environmentally sustainable.

“We are aggressively pursuing the information, technology, and feedstock necessary to make the generation of heat and power from warm season native plants a reality,” says Daniel P. Arnett, Biomass Coordinator for Ernst Conservation Seeds. Growing energy crops on American land means creating jobs in land cultivation, processing biomass materials, plant manufacturing and maintenance, and distribution of the fuels. It also means energy-independence, reduction of CO2 emissions, and cost-saving potential for users of heat, power, and vehicle fuels.

“The EBW Expo & Conference is about converting biomass and waste materials to value,” said Dr. Ines Freesen, Managing Director of trade show organizer Freesen & Partner GmbH. EBW is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Green Power, Inc.; West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, Inc.; and several other organizations.

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