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Did you know?

Q: How old is the “new” concept of grass heating in the US?
A: Pioneers who settled in the Midwestern prairies had no wood and could not afford coal. So they burned “Prairie coal” (buffalo chips) until supplies grew scarce. Then they switched to burning grass, twisted up into packets (the earliest form of densification). The packets were known as “cats”. (Fire on the Hearth, by J.H. Peirce, 1951, Pond-Eckberg Co., Publ.).

For more Frequently Asked Questions, see our FAQ.


Why consider grasses as biofuel?

Reed canarygrass ready to harvest

It takes 70 days to grow a crop of grass pellet fuel.

It takes 70 million years to grow a crop of fossil fuel.

Grass pellets have great potential as a low-tech, small-scale, environmentally-friendly, renewable energy system that can be locally produced, locally processed and locally consumed. As the US focuses on energy security, grass bioenergy is one of the ways that rural communities can move towards energy security. New York State has about 1.5 million acres of unused or underutilized 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; this biomass industry can be completely independent from, but complimentary to, the production of food or animal feed. It is also a very “farmer-friendly” way to get producers exposed to biofuel production. Some research and development is needed to optimize stoves and boilers for grass combustion, and to minimize emissions.

Grass Bioenergy Attributes