Seneca County is in the Top Ten list of all New York Counties in the production of corn, soybeans, and wheat. There are many uses for these crops including animal feed, human consumption following processing, and in the production of biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. By-products from the process can be used to as animal feed. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has put together a comprehensive website on bioenergy crops, biofuels, wind, along with information on feeding by-products of the biofuels sector.
Willowpedia provides information on the research underway using shrub willow as a feedstock crop for bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. Willowpedia provides information on growing and harvesting willow, varieties of willow, diseases and pests in willow and is a gateway to willow research at SUNY College of Environmental Forestry, and research in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Ireland.
The Cornell Initiative for Sustainable Bioenergy Crops is to develop the use of agroenergy crops to reduce the need for fossil fuels.
NYbiofuels.info provides information on bioenergy vocabulary, biomass sources, environmental impacts, establishment, harvesting, weed pressure and diseases related to perennial greases grown for biofeedstock, and current research in plant varieties, economic feasibility for agricultural producers, transportation, and storage challenges.
Forages.org is a selection tool to choose grass varieties that can be used as biomass sources. The tool takes into account the location of the property, soil type, drainage, and pH.
NYS has approximately 1.5 million acres of unused or underused agricultural land, most of which is already growing grass. Grass biofuel production does not need to divert any of the current agricultural productivity into the energy market, rather grass can complement production of food and fiber. GrassBioenergy.org provides information on the benefits of grass biomass, managing grasses, ash content, and grass pelleting.
The Plant Materials Center, Big Flats, NY is a USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service conducts research and evaluates plants that can be used for conservation plantings, cover crops, and pastures. They are doing research on shrub willow management strategies.
The Biofuels Research Laboratory, at Cornell University consists of several groups of researchers working to overcome the physical, chemical, and biological barriers to release the sugars found in energy crops and converting them to biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, or hydrogen.
The National Biodiesel Board is a trade association representing the biodiesel industry in the United States.
Algae could also be a source of biofuel in the future.
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide unbiased wind energy information to Seneca Co. residents recognizing that there are community, ecological, and economic considerations. The link provides guides to agriculture and household and resources for government leaders.
Rural America has the potential to provide energy resources for the future through wind, solar, bio-mass, or bio-fuels production. With these opportunities come challenges for rural communities. Transitioning to Renewable Energy: Development Opportunities and Concerns for Rural America is a publication for policymakers in order that they might be more prepared to address the opportunities and concerns that renewable energy will pose in rural communities.
The Sun Grant Initiative expands the role of land grant universities to address issues of national energy security and rural economic development. Sun Grant conducts research through the Sun Grant Institute of Excellence and administers a competitive grants program.
CURBI is a campus-based research project to identify technologies that would lead to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Farms and Forests’ organic waste and Cornell food wastes being converted through cutting edge technologies to reduce or replace use of fossil fuels. This research project would allow side by side comparisons of means to evaluate waste streams and their conversion to energy sources.
The United States Department of Agriculture supports the development of renewable energy in several ways. The Office of Energy Policy assists the Secretary of Agriculture in developing and coordinating Departmental energy policy, programs and strategies.
USDA Rural Development has financing programs available to finance conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources from large scale biorefineries to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a projects such as building renewable energy systems, efficiency improvements, energy development, and feasibility studies.
NYS Energy Research and Development Authority is a public benefits corporation focused on helping New York meet energy goals of reducing energy consumption, promote the use of renewable energy sources while protecting the environment.
Last updated May 27, 2015