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Q: Why is low ash content generally more desirable when burning biomass pellets?
A: Low ash content may actually increase the chances of problems due to chunks of melted ash (“clinkers”), because low ash grass tends to have ash with a lower melting point. High ash increases the chances of buildup on the burn pot surfaces, restricting air flow and influencing the removal of ash from the burn chamber. High ash content also means more frequent dumping of the ash pan.
For more Frequently Asked Questions, see our FAQ.
Why consider grasses as biofuel?
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.