Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Establishment of a Commercial Willow Biomass Crop Nursery in New York State(ST9430-1)

Double A Vineyards, Inc.


NYSERDA is conducting an ongoing effort to commercialize willow, a potential energy crop for farmers. The ongoing effort includes both System Benefits Charge (SBC) and statutory funds. Willow can be used to make biopower, either alone in wood boilers of co-fired with coal. This project complements that work by moving production of willow whips (small willows suitable for planting) from the university to commercial nurseries. The technology is in transition, as the university has received whip orders too large to handle, yet the market for nurseries, though real, is still small and risky. Now is the time to prepare for a predicted larger market in several years, since willows need time to grow.

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Project Description

The goal of this project was to transfer the technology of superior willow varieties to a commercial nursery located in New York. This goal was achieved and the nursery has begun sales of the product.


The Stage One objective was to identify one to three nurseries willing to grow willow whips and prepare to establish formal agreements with them. The work better described the markets for willow, estimated the demand for whips, described markets for whip harvesting equipment, discussed harvester production efficiency, and identified capital needs at a specific nursery. For one large-scale willow energy project, one would need 58 million cuttings annually for three years, or 130 -160 acres of willow nursery beds. Stage One results alone could lead to $300,000 or more in annual gross revenues. During Stage Two, this project helped establish reliable, high volume supplies of willow whips in beds of 10 15 acres each.

Project Results

In Stage One, Double A Vineyards, a nursery willing to grow willow was recruited. Originally, in Stage Two, crop beds were to be installed at that nursery and marketing materials developed, however some of that work has already occurred. Double A Vineyards planted more than 50,000 cuttings that will eventually yield more than 1.5 million cuttings for sale annually, and developed a flyer and website. In the revised Stage Two scope, a facility was developed that can process and store 10 million cuttings annually. This facility is double what was originally planned. Marketing, production scale-up of bothincreased acreage and more willow varieties, as well as optimization of planting, handling, and shipment techniques were conducted. A license and royalty payment structure was developed between State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Double A Vineyards. Royalty checks have been submitted to NYSERDA and Double A projects it will need more freezer space soon for this burgeoning market.


Double A Vineyards, Inc.
10277 Christy Rd
Fredonia, NY 14063

Principle Investigator

Dennis Rak

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: ST9430-1

Last Updated: 9/26/2014