Following the United States Department of Energy’s announcement to award State University of New York up to $3.5 million to fund a research project that seeks to develop ways to reduce the cost of delivering biomass for refinement, New Holland Agriculture announced plans to assist SUNY researchers in this project.

New Holland Agriculture will provide SUNY with an FR9080 self-propelled forage harvester with 130FB coppice header for use in the DOE research project. The forage harvester and header are used to harvest willow and other short rotation woody crops for biomass applications.  A short ceremony will take place on July 23 at the SUNY ESF Research Station to present the equipment to Dr. Timothy Volk, Senior Research Associate with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and his research team.

“As a company committed to biomass and Clean Energy, New Holland is excited for the opportunity to continue our ten year relationship with Dr. Volk and the SUNY research team,” said Doug Otto, New Holland North America’s Forage Harvester Business Manager. “SUNY’s research played an integral role in our ability to develop the 130FB coppice header, so we are pleased that they will be able to use the header to further their biomass research efforts.”

The relationship between New Holland and SUNY dates back to 2004, when a team of company engineers and product development specialists, headed by John Posselius, Director of Innovations for CNH Industrial, set out to assist Dr. Volk with a research project to optimize the logistics of transporting biomass material. After unsuccessful attempts at modifying existing headers failed to improve logistic efficiencies, Posselius pushed his team to create an original design to efficiently and effectively chop woody biomass such as fast growing willows. Following the research and development phase, Posselius and his team passed the project to a design team headquartered in Belgium to finalize the design of the new header.

The New Holland 130FB coppice header is the culmination of the efforts of Posselius, his team of Innovation Engineers, and the Belgium design team. The header made its world premiere at SIMA in Paris, France in 2009, followed by public demos in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“The relationship we have had with Dr. Tim Volk and SUNY has been a tremendous experience for me personally and a number of Innovation Engineers that have worked with Tim on the coppice header project with me,” said Posselius. “It is exciting to see how we have been able to push the FR and coppice header to that fine line between agriculture and forestry.”

In May 2009, SUNY submitted a proposal to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy outlining their plans to use the New Holland 130FB coppice header and forage harvester to test and improve the logistics related to the transportation of woody biomass. This proposal was approved and New Holland and SUNY agreed to a five year partnership to complete the project.

In 2014, SUNY proposed a second project to continue their work on biomass logistics to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This proposal was approved in December 2014, allowing SUNY to continue its work to develop ways to lower delivered cost on willow and other short rotation woody crops for biomass applications.