Biomass Renewable EnergyAlternative Energy Projects
Equine facilities produce residue (organic waste made up of manure and used bedding) that can be harnessed as a renewable resource. Applying the generated biomass to agricultural lands can serve as a soil amendment or may provide nutrients for growing crops. Alternatively, the generated equine residue may be used as an alternative (renewable) energy source after converting the residue into a usable energy form such as electricity generated via gasification or liquid fuels derived from fast pyrolysis. Knowing the quantity and quality of the generated residue from equine operations, however, is an important first step towards the successful implementation of these renewable energy initiatives.
Over the past several years, faculty and students from the Renewable Energy Technology Program at Morrisville State College were involved in a cooperative research project with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The project focused on assessing the extent of equine residue and bedding material being generated from different equine facilities in Central New York. It also focused on assessing the characteristics of the generated residue. As part of the study, comprehensive sampling of residue and bedding material generated from equine facilities was conducted between 2012 and 2014. The results of the study were then combined with the agricultural census data available from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to draw conclusions regarding the potential for utilizing the generated biomass as an alternative energy source in New York State.