Wood Chips and CAFNR
With wood chips and a little help from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, a new process at the MU Power Plant could shrink the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50 percent by 2018.The 100 percent biomass-fueled boiler at MU’s power plant went on line last summer and is the newest addition to the combined heat and power plant which has been its current location since 1923.
Initially, the biomass boiler is burning mostly wood residues from local wood milling operations. Eventually, up to 120,000 tons annually of sustainable biomass from various renewable sources in Missouri will go into the campus energy stream – wood residues, fast-growing trees such as willow and cottonwood, miscanthus, corn stover, and switchgrass. Up to 40 percent of the power plant’s total fuel is expected to come from sustainably sourced biomass.
By 2018, the power plant hopes to achieve a 75 percent reduction in coal use from 2008, the year the campus expanded its sustainability efforts by signing on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This will be accomplished through the use of biomass, improved efficiencies, and using more natural gas. In addition to improving air quality and lowering the campus carbon footprint, the new boiler will create an income stream to Missouri farmers producing crops of trees and grasses.
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