Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development of a Biomass Heating Roadmap(26429)

Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use


Renewable biomass resources can be used for heating in a range of settings from residential to large-scale industrial applications. Heating devices can utilize biomass feed stocks from both agricultural and forestry sources, including wood chips, wood pellets, log wood, biobricks, and grass pellets. In the U.S., a wide variety of biomass burning devices are available ranging from high-polluting, inefficient technologies to clean-burning, highly efficient technologies. As the market for these products evolves, there is significant potential to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and create economic growth opportunities in New York State. The path that the State chooses with regard to biomass burning could also have long-term ramifications for the well-being of its forests, air quality, and public health. This project will develop a Biomass Heating Roadmap for New York State (Roadmap) that evaluates critical technical, environmental, public health, forest health, economic, and policy issues. The Roadmap will assess the following: potential biomass fuel feedstocks, their availability and biomass combustion technologies, and the implications of those choices. Additionally, the Roadmap will identify critical actions to create a pathway that does the following: stimulates the necessary research, investments and policies to build appropriate capacity, maintains feedstock supplies, and ensures public health and environmental protection.

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Project Description

The Roadmap will detail a strategic plan to guide New York State in expanding the use of biomass in clean and efficient heating applications. The plan will compare the relative performance, cost and availability of current and potential future biomass heating feedstock and technologies to each other, as well as to current and potential future fossil fuels, in terms of trends, barriers, and potential solutions. The plan will also address environmental and public health implications of different biomass heating options -- and compare these to fossil fuels, as well as outline criteria testing protocols and best management practices, to improve performance efficiency, emissions, sustainability, safety, and public health. Finally, the plan will address micro- and macro-economic impacts of expanded biomass use and the introduction of advanced technologies in terms of New York State market potential, commercial viability, and job creation. It will also delineate needs for research, workforce training and public outreach, and analyze policy options in the context of local, state, regional, national, and global events and markets.


The Roadmap will provide information that will improve understanding of policy options for promoting the use of efficient and cleaner-burning biomass combustion, as well as market opportunities for increased use of biomass for heating. The Roadmap will also enhance understanding of the technical options for improving the efficiency and combustion characteristics of biomass burning devices, as well as the availability and cost of renewable biomass fuels. Further, the Roadmap will improve understanding of the potential public health and environmental benefits of increasing the use of biomass as a heating fuel and introducing greater numbers of advanced, clean burning units, along with the impact on the state’s forest and agricultural resources, and the consumer/industry benefits associated with the use of more efficient combustion devices. Finally, the Roadmap will enhance understanding of the potential macro-economic impact of a significantly enhanced biomass market in New York State, along with future research and development needs, including those related to improvements to technologies, test procedures, as well as programs to promote the use of clean and efficient biomass for heating in New York State.

Project Results


Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use
89 South Street, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02111

Principle Investigator

Lisa Rector

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Indigenous Resources

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 6/8/2012 1
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 26429

Last Updated: 11/13/2013