Renewable and Alternative Energy

This article gives an overview of the scope and issues involved when considering whether managing a forest for energy production is a good option.

This article discusses some of the issues of using woody biomass as an energy source with respect to those in the forestry business such as timber harvesters and forest managers.

Baled switchgrass stored in a field

Growing renewable biomass feedstocks like perennial grasses that can be converted into energy (electricity, liquid transportation fuels, or heat) is becoming a real opportunity for farmers in the northeastern United States. This fact sheet focuses on a few nonenergy markets for two perennial grass crops, switchgrass and miscanthus.

Diagram of the Franklin Stove, 1769

This publication in the Renewable and Alternative Energy Fact Sheet series explains biomass heating with a focus on the combustion process, fuel choices, equipment, obtaining biomass fuels, and emissions and pollution.

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A significant hazard for processing facilities of all types, fire has already left its mark on a number of biomass facilities throughout the world. This 16-page publication focuses on fire hazards in systems that process perennial grass biomass. Described are the major codes and standards that are applicable to perennial grass biomass systems, the planning that is needed by both industry and fire services, and the capabilities of community fire services that are faced with previously unseen and unknown fire hazards in this new industry.

This fact sheet provides strategies for dealing with previously compacted areas on existing well and pipeline sites.

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This publication addresses processing and safety issues associated with making biodiesel fuel, which is a clean, renewable fuel that can be made from various biomass oil feedstocks such as waste vegetable oil, yellow grease, animal fats, and virgin vegetable oils. The objective of this publication is to review some of the accepted practices associated with small-scale biodiesel production to make it a safe, environmentally sound practice that generates a quality product. Prospective biodiesel producers are also encouraged to use this information as they decide whether or not to begin making biodiesel.

Biomass is a promising option for providing locally produced, renewable energy in Pennsylvania. This fact sheet presents some of the more important characteristics of solid biomass fuel and explains their significance.

Coal-fired power plant

Pennsylvania farmers and foresters interested in growing biomass as an energy crop have a wide variety of potential markets for their product. One of the more promising options is to sell your biomass for co-firing with other fuels, especially coal. This fact sheet provides an introduction to co-firing, including a description of the process and a discussion of the issues associated with co-firing biomass.

Figure 1: Diagram of the major components of a commercial-scale biomass combustor system

This publication in the Renewable and Alternative Energy Fact Sheet series overview of the equipment common to most commercial-scale biomass combustors and discusses some of the considerations in selecting a biomass combustor.

This fact sheet provides insights from a survey of how the Commonwealth’s downtown business communities are responding to the opportunities and challenges arising from the development of Marcellus shale.

This unique slide-type piece allows you to make an "apples-to-apples" comparison of various heating fuels on the basis of cost per BTU. Values provided include #2 fuel oil, propane, natural gas, electricity, coal, corn, wood pellets, and firewood. Note: This piece is only available in hard copy due to its two-part design consisting of a sleeve and an insert.

Pennsylvania’s forests are an important renewable natural resource and include some of the nation’s most commercially valuable hardwood species. However, they are more than just an economic resource.

Figure 1. Atomic composition by mass of gasoline (left) and ethanol (right).

This article provides the advantages and disadvantages of using fuel ethanol to help give engine owners a balanced view and make the most of their fuel.

Understanding who is trying to lease your natural gas rights important. This fact sheet provides brief information about land brokers, lease agreements, and compensation.

Green buildings, such as the Stuckeman Family Building at Penn State, are designed to use less energy and have fewer impacts on the ecosystem

This fact sheet explains what green buildings and bioenergy are, how bioenergy can work in green buildings, reasons for and against using bioenergy in green buildings, and provides examples of bioenergy use in Pennsylvania.

This fact sheet describes impacts, challenges, and opportunities of Marcellus shale development on Pennsylvania's businesses that have intentionally positioned themselves to benefit from the expected increase in economic activities. It also examines the varied strategies employed by businesses to address future impacts and the types of assistance they are seeking. This work is intended to help these businesses plan carefully for the future, an important step in ensuring the responsible development of the Commonwealth's natural gas resources.

This article provides information to help homeowners, schools and institutions, and industries determine whether biomass heat would be effective and cost-efficient for them.

Local business woman

This publication in the Marcellus Education Fact Sheet series uses results from a fall 2010 survey of local businesses in Bradford and Washington Counties to examine how local businesses are being affected by Marcellus shale development. The survey results provide insights into what occurred in two of Pennsylvania's most active Marcellus shale counties during 2010 and what other counties could experience as drilling activity increases.

The demand for fuel pellets has grown exponentially during recent years. This fact sheet explores the different types of fuel pellets that can be made from biomass and discusses the process and equipment needed to take on such a venture.