Frostburg State University Receives $300,000 USDA Grant for Biomass Development

As part of an ongoing effort to create a sustainable, decarbonized campus, Frostburg State University (FSU) recently applied for and received $300,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wood Innovations Grant program. This grant will allow FSU to create an implementation-ready design for woody biomass heating on campus, replacing an aging set of oil-fired boilers. 

Biomass heating is only the latest addition to expansive plans to reduce the carbon footprint at FSU – including microgrids, solar installations, EV charging, and advanced heating and cooling systems. Since the campus largely operates on 40-year-old fossil fuel equipment, the resulting decarbonization is expected to be significant. The wood fuel used by biomass boilers is locally sourced and abundant, also reaffirming FSU’s commitment to supporting a sustainable regional economy. 

The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) supported the application process for this grant as part of an ongoing partnership with FSU. MCEC also participated in previous educational events and feasibility studies that contributed to a renewable energy transition at FSU. 

Support for this project is part of several larger efforts to support biomass and other clean energy technologies in Maryland. The MCEC biomass program provides no-cost feasibility analyses to facilities looking to replace fossil fuel heating with biomass, hosts educational tours of biomass installations, and is staffed by a Wood Energy Coordinator who acts as a subject-matter expert for interested parties across the state. Grant-writing is part of the technical support offered by MCEC, which also provides new and developing projects with assistance in navigating access to funding and other resources to expedite implementation.