Turning Grass And Weeds Into Energy

By: Melissa Stagnaro

Turning grass and weeds into energy

COVENTRY – Wouldn’t it be great if local farmers could use fallow or marginal land to produce renewable energy, which could be processed and used locally?

For Bradd Vickers, president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau President, this isn’t just a good idea. He strongly believes it is a viable option for Upstate New York.

“The message to the farmers is to start growing energy products,” Vickers told local agriculture leaders at a luncheon held in honor of National Agriculture Day at the Silo Restaurant on Friday.

In fitting with the event’s theme, “Sowing Seeds Today for Our Energy Needs Tomorrow,” Vickers invited Bob and May Miller of Enviro Energy to talk about biomass fuels.

“We’ve always been interested in the alternative energy idea,” explained May Miller. After years of research, the couple, who retired from farming more than a decade ago, started Enviro Energy with their adult son and his wife. In the fall of 2008, they began producing hay and grass pellets in their newly constructed facility in Wells Bridge.

The concept is to take grass and hay grown on marginal lands, grind it all up and compress it into pellets which can be used as fuel in biomass stoves much like wood pellets. The result is a completely renewable energy source that can be produced locally and is environmentally friendly.

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