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New Holland Partners with ESF

ESF took delivery of a harvester that will greatly enhance the college's willow biomass research.

The FR9080 self-propelled forage harvester with 130FB coppice header from New Holland Agriculture will be used in a $3 million Department of Energy (DOE) research project. The forage harvester and header are used to harvest willow and other short rotation woody crops for biomass applications. The key was turned over in a ceremony on July 23 at ESF's Research Station in Tully, N.Y. with Dr. Timothy Volk, senior research associate at ESF, and his research team.

The DOE research project seeks to reduce the cost of delivering biomass for refinement.

"As a company committed to biomass and clean energy, New Holland is excited for the opportunity to continue our 10-year relationship with Dr. Volk and the ESF research team," said Doug Otto, New Holland North America's Forage Harvester business manager. "SUNY-ESF'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 ESF 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 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.

The New Holland 130FB coppice header is the culmination of Posselius and his team of innovation engineers' efforts. 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 ESF 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, ESF submitted a proposal to the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy outlining its 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 ESF agreed to a five-year partnership to complete the project.

In 2014, ESF 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 the college to continue its work to develop ways to lower delivered cost on willow and other short rotation woody crops for biomass applications.