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BERC Wins USDA Funding to Develop Woodchip Heating Fuel Quality Standard

Apr 23, 2015

On April 9, 2015 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the 43 recipients of the 2015 Wood Innovations Grants. Over $9 million in funding was awarded to projects aimed at advancing wood energy and wood product markets in the U.S. These federal funds, along with $22 million in partner investments, total $31 million that will be invested in highly impactful and innovative work.

Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC), a program of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), was among the 43 grant recipients. BERC partnered with Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, to develop the winning project proposal.

Over the next two years, BERC and its partners will use the USDA Forest Service funding, along with the in-kind contributions of stakeholders to develop and disseminate a voluntary national specification for woodchips used for heat and combined heat and power applications. There is great opportunity to expand the modern wood heating market in the US and ensuring consistent quality heating fuel will help further improve air emissions, boiler efficiency, boiler performance, and overall system reliability of modern wood heating systems. Wood fuel quality directly impacts how efficiently, reliably, and cleanly modern wood heating systems burn fuel.

This standard will aim to resolve these issues by providing a guide for the production, transportation, storage, and use of woodchip fuel. It will be developed through a comprehensive outreach effort involving all impacted stakeholders. Once adopted, the standard will allow for the continued growth and widespread utilization of modern wood heating in commercial and institutional applications throughout the country.

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