At FDCE, we’re passionate about conservation and sustainable practices. In addition to establishing pollinator habitat, native grasses, and forbs for landowners enrolled in CRP, we provide bioenergy solutions across the globe that replace inefficient, expensive, and non-renewable fuel sources with superior alternatives.
Not only is bioenergy sustainable, but it’s cleaner, more efficient, and when used correctly, more affordable.
Recently, the success of one of our bioenergy projects was highlighted in an article by MyFarmLife.com.
A Local, Sustainable Source of Energy That Saves Thousands of Dollars Per Day
In 2006, we were asked to help Virginia Tech and Conservation Management Institute convert Piedmont Geriatric Hospital’s biomass boiler to native switchgrass. At that point, they relied primarily on sawdust. While the sawdust was sourced from local mills, as much as half of it was made up of water, significantly hindering efficiency and increasing costs.
By comparison, switchgrass hay averages less than 15% water.
The transition process was filled with trial and error during the first few years. Thankfully, the hospital administration was determined to see the project through, and their good faith was well-rewarded.
During a 44-day run of exclusively burning native grass, the hospital saved almost $44,000. A year later, they saved nearly $100,000 during a 50-day run. The savings gave the Commonwealth of Virginia enough confidence to purchase a new $7-million biomass boiler.
Now burning native biomass year-round, the hospital saves anywhere from $1800-$2200 per day on fuel costs.
Native Biofuel is Better for Everyone
The switchgrass used to fuel Piedmont Geriatric Hospital was locally grown by FDCE. We rented fields from farmers and landowners that were underutilized or incapable of sustaining traditional row crops.
In addition to providing a great source of renewable energy, native grasses such as switchgrass prevent soil erosion, reduce carbon-emissions, protect local water-supplies, and provide habitat for local wildlife. It’s a win-win scenario for all parties involved.
Local farmers and landowners are compensated for renting out otherwise unprofitable land. Soil and water quality are improved. The hospital saves hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. And the environment prospers thanks to cleaner air and increased wildlife.
As our founder, Fred Circle, says, “There’s really no downside to any of it.”
Watch Fred’s full interview here: