University of Missouri completes coal-to-wood-biomass conversion of boiler at campus power plant; Kaiser Electric installation expected to increase steam output by 30,000 lbs./hour, cut fossil fuel usage 25%

Allison Oesterle

Allison Oesterle

FENTON, Missouri , October 9, 2012 (press release) – Kaiser Electric crews have completed a long-awaited project for the University of Missouri – Columbia (MU) to replace a coal boiler at its campus power plant with an environmentally friendly biomass unit.

The new boiler, which was retrofitted to the university’s existing heating duct system, is expected to produce 150,000 pounds of steam per hour, increasing the 67-year-old power plant’s steam output by 30,000 pounds per hour, and use an estimated 100,000 tons of in-state renewable energy sources such as chipped hardwoods and wood waste. The new unit is also expected to reduce the campus’ fossil fuel use by 25 percent. Since 2007, the power plant has been using about 5,000 tons of biomass per year, plus coal, in its other boilers.

Along with wiring the new biomass boiler, Kaiser Electric crews also provided electrical service, lighting, and control and instrumentation wiring on the $75 million project, which also included construction of a new truck unloading facility and erection of five storage silos and a parallel conveyor system.

Kaiser crews completed wiring the unloading facility and conveyor system in mid-December before winter set in. The Phase I project included three under-silo coal and biomass conveyors which travel from the fuel receiving area to the bucket elevators. Each conveyor stretches approximately 250 feet in length. The two over-bunker and coal and biomass conveyors are approximately 200 feet long and the bucket elevators are approximately 80 feet tall.

Phase II included construction and wiring of the 110-foot-high silos, which was completed in March. The final phase of the project, installation of the biomass boiler, was completed at the end of September.

The University of Missouri – Columbia is one of the largest college campuses in the country to utilize biomass to help fuel its power plant. The MU power plant supplies energy and heating and cooling for buildings totaling more than 13 million square feet, including three hospitals, a research reactor and several research facilities.

The general contractor on the project is McCarthy Construction of St. Louis, MO in partnership with CB&E Construction Group. Sega Engineering and Technical Services of Overland Park, Kansas is the project engineer.

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