Renewable Energy Technology A.A.S Degree Program
Renewable Energy Bachelor of Technology Degree Program

Sustainable Energy Scholarship (for Renewable Energy Students)

Did you know that Morrisville State College offers over 20 courses specifically focused on renewable energy?

Take a tour of some of our classes and facilities
(Online Open House, PDF 14 MB)

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Dr. Benjamin D. Ballard Dr. Benjamin D. Ballard

Director, Renewable Energy Training Center
Associate Professor, Renewable Energy

Office: 103-B Shannon Hall
Phone: (315) 684-6780
Fax: (315) 684-6588
E-mail: BallarBD@morrisville.edu 

Dr.B's climbing partner Argus 

Teaching & Training

  RENG 102 - Renewable Energy Resources (Fall semester, alternating with Dr, Hofmeyer)
RENG 102 - Renewable Energy Resources (Online)  (Spring semester, alternating with Dr, Hofmeyer)
RENG 103 - Renewable Energy Seminar (Fall semester)
RENG 150 - Analysis Techniques for Renewable Energy (Spring semester)
RENG 225 - Tower Climbing & Rescue (co-taught with Dr. Hofmeyer; Spring semester)
RENG 310 - Biomass Energy Resources (Fall semester)
RENG 315 - Biomass Energy Resources II ("biomass logistics and processing"; Spring semester)
RENG 331 - Introduction to Solar Thermal Systems (Spring semester)

RENG 410 - Biomass Energy Conversions - Biochemical (Fall semester)
RENG 415 - Biomass Energy Conversions - Thermochemical (Fall semester)
RREN 450 - Interniship Orientation (Renewable Energy) (Spring semester)
RENG 460 - Systems Integration (co-taught with Dr. Hofmeyer, Fall/Spring semesters)
RENG 490 - Renewable Energy Internship (Fall/Spring/Summer semesters)

AGNR 400 - Instructional Assistance Experience (Fall/Spring semesters)
SPPR 1XX/3XX - Renewable Energy Special Project (Fall/Spring semesters)
Recent invited presentations and workshops:
  • Ballard, B. D. 2016. "Bioenergy 101” (3-day “energy boot camp”). Sustainable Energy Fund’s Energy Path 2016 Conference. Penn State, State College, PA. July 25-27, 2016.

  • Ballard, B. D. 2015. "Bioenergy 101” (3-day “energy boot camp”). Sustainable Energy Fund’s Energy Path 2015 Conference. University of Scranton, Scranton, PA. July 20-22, 2015.

  • Ballard, B.D. 2014. Renewable Energy Fire Safety: Biodiesel and Biomass Gasification. State Fire Marshals & Inspectors Annual Seminar, October 21-24, 2014, NYS Academy of Fire Science, Montour Falls, NY.

  • Ballard, B.D. 2014. Opportunities with the Latest Waste-to-Energy Technologies: understanding the fundamentals of thermochemical conversion. AU WMA’s “ENVIRO’14 – Pathways for better business,” in Adelaide, Australia, on September, 11-12, 2014.

  • Ballard, B.D. 2013. Thermochemical conversion pathways for biomass, and Wood gasification power generation demonstration. Penn State Extension’s Next Generation Biomass Conversion short course “The Business of Bioenergy: Advanced Biomass Conversion,” in Malvern, PA, on November, 11-12, 2013

  • Ballard, B.D. 2013. Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass and Near-term Practical Applications. Perennial Biofeedstock Energy Tour and Presentations, USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center, Big Flats, NY, on July 31, 2013.

  • Ballard, B.D. 2013. A CNY College’s Efforts at Addressing Climate Change: Renewable Energy Projects and Education at Morrisville State College. Community forum: “Responding to Climate Change in Central New York,” hosted by Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, NY, on April 16, 2013.

  • “Beginner Technician’s Anaerobic Digester Short Course” (1-day workshop). Dec. 14, 2012. Renewable Energy Training Center and Cornell Pro-Dairy (NYSERDA project). Morrisville, NY. Co-taught with Jennifer Pronto (Cornell) and Chip Ax (MSC).

Outreach Materials: Woodgas Camp Stoves ("How to build your own...")  
  woodgas camp stove woodgas flames  
  Download 3-can gasification camp stove instructions (rev. 5-21-2017)  

Guide for Establishing and Operating an On-Campus Biodiesel Production System
Contents include
  • Suggested Biodiesel Transesterification Procedures
  • Procedural Manual and Worker Training for Methanol Handling in a Biodiesel Production Facility
  • Morrisville State College Site-Specific Biodiesel Safety Plan (and MSDS)
  • Building a Small-Scale Biodiesel Production System: Design and Process Specifications
  • Safety Considerations in a Small Biodiesel Production Facility (codes/regulations list)
  • System Overview and Equipment & Supplies Utilized for Biodiesel Production (detailed item and price lists)
Shrub Identification Guides
(click on images for a preview of these books). The NE Shrub & Short Tree ID book and Willow ID book are now available for purchase online (ESF bookstore).
  ShrubID  WillowID  

Demonstration & Research
Ongoing Projects:
(see photos below)
Distributed On-farm Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biochemicals (FarmBio3) project with USDA ARS (Equine manure/bedding feedstock reports)
Biomass Gasifiaction for Small-scale Electrical Generation (20kW GEK Power Pallet)
On-farm wind energy: MSC's 10 kW Bergey Excel wind turbine
Combined Heat & Power via manure-to-biogas: MSC's anaerobic digester
Demonstration of an aquaponics Controlled Environmental Agriculture System for Commercial Production of Locally-grown Fish and Produce (NYSERDA)
Research Interests: Biomass, bioenergy, and biofuel, including: gasification/pyrolysis/combustion, biodiesel, anaerobic digestion;
Vegetation management, shrub ecology and management

Students, Facilities and Projects
(see our virtual tour for more detail)
MSC Biodiesel Production Lab
Our batch biodiesel processor and dry-wash system (by Springboard Biodiesel) is used to convert used fryer oil from campus dining halls to quality biofuel, which is used for greenhouse heating and powering tractors at the MSC Equine Rehab Center.
Biodiesel Soap & Catalyst Titrations
Shawn and Rob are preparing a titration of biodiesel to determine residual soap and catalyst levels.
Biodiesel Test Batches
Test batches of biodiesel using various feedstocks, including vegetable oils and animal fats. The separation line is glycerol, which settles to the bottom of the funnel.
MSC Dairy Anaerobic Digester
The College's dairy farm produces about 900 kWh of electricity each day day (that's the equivalent of an typical home's monhtly energy use) from cow maure. Bacteria in the digester break down the organic wastes into organic acids which are broken down further by methanogenic bacteria that produce methane gas. The "biogas" is about 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide.
Biogas Engine Gen Set
Students touring the Madison County Landfill biogas combined heat and power facility.
Morrisville technician servicing the BioMax100 gasifier. This unit generates heat and electricity for Commons I (student housing). Biomass (wood chips) is converted to syngas in the gasifier, which is filtered and then combusted in two GM Vortec engines connected to generators producing a net 100 kW electric output.
Wood gasification PowerPallet
Students preparing the wood gasification Power Pallet for a live demonstration (electricity from wood chips and horse manure!). This unit has been customized by MSC students. See how it works: here!
Wood grinding
Students are changing the screens on the wood chipper/grinder used to process cull logs (and other biomass residues, see below) from campus properties for use as biofuel.
Processing horse litter
Students are processing horse manure and soiled bedding to evaluate the material as a potential bioenergy feedstock.
Cold Install
Dr. Hofmeyer tightens tower bolts on a very cold installation at a wind turbine test site in Tully, NY. 
Ryan and Tyler practice fusing HDPE pipe, which is commonly used as penstock material for microhydro electric systems.
 Renewable Energy students install the intake for a microhydro system at Oxbow Falls County Park.
Dr.H installing an intake at Oxbow
Dr. Hofmeyer getting his feet wet! Oxbow Falls County Park micro hydro installation.
Installing a micro hydro turbine
Tim and Josh mount a micro hydroelectric turbine during lab at the Galbreath Farm.
Wind turbine maint (Dr.B & Tyler)
Dr. Ballard and Tyler are checking the Bergey Excel 10kW wind turbine (@120 ft.) to determine what is needed to repair the furling cable (note the tail is not in its furled position, as it normally would be when technicians climb the tower).
Solar PV home run connection
As part of their solar PV lab, Renewable Energy students work with a local installer on this Solarize Madison job.
MSC wind lab with indoor climbing tower
Tower climbing and rescue class starts out on the 17-ft. indoor tower in the Shannon Hall classroom...later in the semester students work outside on the 120-ft. tall Bergey tower!
MSC wind&solar lab
The Shannon Hall wind/solar lab gives students hands-on experience with the electrical components for both wind and solar PV systems.
MSC Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) Greenhouse - Aquaponics Facility (for more info. contact: Eric Bremiller)
CEA greenhouse - lettuce on rafts
Floating raft pond system. Lettuce is grown in rock wool plugs held in place in foam boards. The roots are submerged in the pond (aeration stones provide air to the roots).
CEA greenhouse - raft hydroponics
Crop diversification on the raft system. The raft system is connected to the tilapia tanks. The fish provide fertilizer (dissolved nutrients; fish waste solids are removed prior to the pond, and water is UV sterilized), and the plants help "clean" nutrients out of the water.
CEA greenhouse NFT crops
NFT (nutrient film technique) using "gutters" to deliver a constant stream of nutrient-rich water to the plant roots. Water is recirculated from a sump tank to the gutters and monitored daily for nutrient an pH levels.
Harvesting lettuce from CEA GH
Ag. business students, Dr. Xu Pei, and Eric Bremiller (greenhouse manager) harvesting lettuce to be sold by Morrisville Fresh. Much of our lettuce is used at the dining halls on campus, as well as the Copper Turret restaurant, which is operated by Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation (MAC).
CEA greenhouse tilapia
Scrubbing the fish tanks is a regular occurrence, trying to keep up with the algae.
CEA greenhouse tilapia
One of our tilapia, ready for harvest. Our fish are sold live to an Asian market in Syracuse.

School Web Site | MSC Home Page

Web site maintained by Dr. Benjamin D. Ballard, Assistant Professor, Morrisville State College.
Last modified on May 21, 2017.