Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Model for the Assessment of Incremental Commercial Biomass Availability on a Regional Basis(ST10868-1)



Existing feedstock models to describe biomass supplies typically make broad assumptions. While appropriate for use in estimating biomass resources in large regions, the models break down when used in more specific situations. Current models may also underestimate supply, for example, because they don’t count land that is not an active farm. The number of landowners who engage in timber harvesting may only be 20%, and the number with a forest management plan may be only 5%. Many landowners rank income low on their reasons for owning timber land.

Map Error

Project Description

The goal was to develop, field test, and refine a tool to generate a supply curve for non-grain biomass that considers procurement options and provides information at a cost acceptable to potential investors. The tool includes procedures to assess landowner interest in commercial relationships. It projects costs at current rates until critical volumes are achieved, and adjusts costs based on dedicated production and transportation units, with separate modules for grasses, crop residues, willow, and wood.


The work attempted to validate technical assumptions about biomass availability in New York, and create a broadly useful economic development tool for field crops and wood.

Project Results

Objectives included: 1) defining appropriate land parcels in a test area; 2) contacting and interviewing landowners as to receptivity to options such as one-time harvesting vs. sustained yield management, no-till practices, etc; 3) surveying the parcels; 4) providing landowners with a concise summary of the biomass production potential, including maps and cropping/harvesting alternatives. Opportunities to refine the process of selecting the sample and conducting the field work and interviews have been identified. A number of these changes are being implemented as part of a follow up project that is being supported by the NY Farm Viability Institute. It is anticipated that these refinements will allow for a larger sample size in the project’s 25 mile radius supply shed, based in Morrisville, NY.


200 Bray Hall, 1 Forestry Dr The Office of Research Program
Syracuse, NY 13210

Principle Investigator

Tim Volk

Universities Involved

SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10868-1

Last Updated: 11/30/2011