Renewable Heating Class Held At MTI

A pellet that can be used in a Econoburn gasification boiler. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2040 becomes a reality, the usage of biomass wood gasification boilers will need to increase.

This is why New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offered a full-day design-focused workshop Thursday on hydronics for high-efficiency biomass boilers at the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College. The course combined best practices for modern, high-efficiency wood-fired boilers with hydronic distribution systems, explore operating characteristics and helped the 16 participants — ranging from professionals to students — learn how to combine heat sources and distribution techniques into stable, efficient and reliable systems.

The instructor for the class was John Siegenthaler, a mechanical engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who is a licensed professional engineer and professor emeritus of Engineering Technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. He is a principal of Appropriate Designs, a consulting engineering firm in Holland Patent and has worked closely with NYSERDA on the development and implementation of the Renewable Heat NY initiative.

Renewable Heating NY is a $27 million initiative that provides significant financial incentives to municipalities, businesses and homeowners who integrate wood/pellet/chip biomass systems into their existing heating systems.

The training was coordinated by Manufacturing Association of the Southern Tier in cooperation with NYSERDA and hosted by Jamestown Community College. County Legislator Mark Odell, Planning and Economic Development Committee chairman, helped to make connections for the event. He said this is only the second NYSERDA hydronics for high-efficiency biomass boiler training course west of Syracuse since the program started in 2014.

Odell provided a “live burn” demonstration to go along with the theories the participants were learning in class.

“I am pleased to help facilitate bringing this relevant training to WNY and Chautauqua County. Attendance at this training is a key component toward NYSERDA qualification for incentive funding flow to local projects.” Odell continued, “We have engaged the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier to help spread the word to heating system designers, installers, energy auditors, and code officials about this opportunity so they can become proficient in the best practices for installing and operating these advanced pellet boiler, cordwood boiler and pellet stove systems.”

Odell, who is the Econoburn vice president of sales and marketing, demonstrated how the Econoburn EBW series wood gasification boiler worked with pellets and wood. He said the training is geared toward Cuomo’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

“The end goal is to lower emissions,” he said. “By lowering emissions, you become more efficient.”

Sue Dougherty, project manager representing NYSERDA, said around 20 classes have been held by Siegenthaler since the program started in 2014.