Biomass heating system commissioned in New York

By New York State Department of Environmental Conservation | November 19, 2019

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Adirondack Park Agency, and New York State Police on Nov. 14 formally commissioned a renewable biomass heating system at the State Office Campus in Ray Brook, New York. The high-efficiency low-emission boiler, fueled by wood pellets, will provide heat to DEC Region 5, APA, and State Police Troop B headquarters. The $3 million renewable energy project was developed in partnership with DEC, State Police, APA, the New York Power Authority and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's BuildSmart NY program, which calls for a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by all state agencies by 2020.

"The Ray Brook Automated Wood Heating System will not only more cleanly and efficiently provide heat for three state agency buildings, it will also create jobs in the Adirondack region, keep energy dollars in New York, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and promote sustainable forest management," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "This project supports Governor Cuomo's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy sources."

"The Adirondack Park Agency is proud to be a part of Governor Cuomo's aggressive plan to combat the devastating impacts of climate change. At this critical time in history, Governor Cuomo is leading New York State forward with an energy policy that prioritizes clean renewable energy sources, bolsters local employment opportunities and safeguards the environment for future generations," said APA Executive Director Terry Martino. "The Ray Brook State Office Complex System is another outstanding lead-by-example project from the great state of New York."

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "The new heating system will improve efficiency and lower costs, which allows us to focus resources on our core missions. I applaud all of our state agency partners for their collaboration in bringing this environmentally friendly project to fruition."

The project was first outlined in Governor Cuomo's Renewable Heat NY Initiative, a long-term commitment to help grow the High-Efficiency and Low-Emissions Wood Heating market. The project will demonstrate the advantages of using wood for heating while providing experience for manufacturing, operating, and maintaining wood boilers, and manufacturing and delivering wood pellets, which will improve the ability of both sectors to compete with traditional energy projects.

In 2013, the United States Forest Service conducted a pre-feasibility study at the request of DEC, which concluded that a wood-fueled boiler system providing for the heating needs of the Ray Brook State Office Campus was feasible and that it would provide economic benefits to the forest products industry in the region.

A second feasibility study by NYSERDA, conducted by Pyramid Energy Engineering Services, PLLC, evaluated the technical energy and economic feasibility of the system and determined that a three-boiler system using wood pellets as fuel and distributing heat to each of the office buildings through a district heating loop could displace 90 percent of previous oil, propane and kerosene fuel usage.

The renewable heating loop system will save the state in annual energy costs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 391 tons a year-the equivalent of taking more than 80 cars off the road. In addition, this project will help sustain the regional forest products industry, a critical component of the North Country's economy.

The advanced boilers are manufactured in New York using the latest efficiency and emission reduction technologies. The fully automated system will provide approximately 90 percent of the building's heating needs. The existing heating systems will remain to provide heat during cool spring/fall days, and supplemental heat for extreme cold snaps.

The building housing the boilers includes an observation space to educate the public about the system's components and function and provide real-time information on the fuel use and heat output.

The boilers use technology that was developed by Evoworld as part of a product development project funded through NYSERDA's innovation portfolio. The project resulted in a new user interface that provides quick access to operating data and appliance performance feedback that has been incorporated into the advanced boilers being commissioned today.

NYSERDA also provided funds for system commissioning oversight, which is critical to ensuring the pellet boiler district heating system is installed, properly integrated with the existing heat distribution systems in the office complex buildings and operating as designed. In total, NYSERDA provided more than $500,000 toward the project. The remaining cost was split by the three benefiting state agencies.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA, "New York continues to lead by example in advancing clean, renewable energy under Governor Cuomo's steadfast commitment to eliminating the State's carbon footprint and combatting the devastating impacts of climate change. In addition to bringing more efficient energy resources to Ray Brook, BuildSmart NY helps demonstrate what is possible when we are committed to finding innovative solutions for our most pressing climate and energy issues."

"This is a landmark renewable biomass energy project that will provide a clean heating source for the State Office Campus in Ray Brook," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "NYPA is partnering with state and local governments all across New York to implement innovative energy projects just like this one, transforming the state into a clean energy economy."