Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Biomass Systems Implementation:Salix Consortium(ST4163-1)

SUNY Research Foundation


NYSERDA has long been a major supporter of short-rotation forestry. The concept of dedicated willow plantations is now ready for commercial introduction. A consortium of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (NMPC), NYSERDA, and others has been funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Project Description

The project achieved its goals to: enhance New York State's ability to produce biomass on a large scale, ensure a long-term supply, and mitigate environmental concerns about harvesting forests. Specifically, the project: (1) evaluated potential problems with scale-up when planting many acres of willow, (2) determined the costs and benefits of co-firing willow or waste wood blends in a pulverized coal boiler, and (3) established a private entity to manage the plantations and provide wood to power plants.


Supporting the market for biomass such as willow allows New York's farmers to add willow to their list of viable cash crops. Environmental benefits are associated with reducing coal consumption at New York's power plants. In addition, although plantations are not as diverse as natural forest, the National Audubon Society feels willow can add diversity for birds and wildlife compared to traditional crops. In particular, willow plantations can serve as connections between forested areas.

Project Results

In Phase One, final engineering design and organization, SUNY- ESF: (1) explored fuel supplies for NYSEG's power stations, (2) continued crop research, (3) developed an outreach program for Phase Two growers, (4) provided field trial support, and (5) provided support for overall risk management. Phase Two's five-year plan focused on the site preparation and planting of approximately 1,000 acres of willows on private farms. SUNY-ESF provided technical support. FORECON (a forest management company from Jamestown) planted and harvested the willow on-site. To support use of the willows, NMPC, and later NRG Power, LLC, continued to modify the Dunkirk Steam station for co-firing wood/coal and NYSEG, now known as AES, completed an investigation into co-firing wood/coal at Greenidge Station. This commercialization project's focus was to establish the supply network for willows. Since completion of this program, a private venture was established to manage the wood supply infrastructure. Seven hundred acres were planted in 1998-2000, involving 14 landowners. Later, only 500 acres remained in production due to the 1999 drought. Many acres have since been transferred over to the control of Double A Willow, a private firm dedicated to growing willows.


SUNY Research Foundation
Empire State Plaza Concourse Level Rm 106
Albany, NY 12224

Principle Investigator

Larry Abrahamson

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: ST4163-1

Last Updated: 9/26/2014