The biomass energy industry is emerging and poised to grow rapidly in Virginia. The Commonwealth of
Virginia is already using warm season grasses as a directly fired fuel source at
Piedmont Geriatric Hospital
in Burkesville, VA; this facility alone will
likely require 1,600 acres of dedicated warm season grass crops in close proximity to the facility.
Because the significant cost savings compared to fuel oil or other energy sources, the Commonwealth of
Virginia is evaluating the biofuels strategy for several other state facilities. Ultimately their need
for feedstock could surpass 37,000 acres statewide. In addition to these state requirements, several
large biomass energy developers are evaluating the use of warm season grasses as a fuel source for
heating facilities, drying wood pellets, etc. Dozens of projects are currently being proposed and/or
developed in Virginia, and no doubt many others are in the works throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast
regions. Income received from these emerging opportunities is still unknown but a diversity of energy
sources including biomass are being tracked daily. For example, see the summary provided by Biomass
Rules, LLC at http://www.biomassrules.com/energy_value_basics.html
An example Biomass Rules, LLC’s recent energy values summary is provided below.
Biomass Rules Energy Values Summary
Using these grasses for bioenergy makes a great deal of sense because they can be grown on marginal soils,
on lands that are currently fallow or not ideal for growing crops used for human consumption.