Boiler saves money, reduces emissions

Biomass boiler For immediate release: Jan. 20, 2011

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s biomass boiler has been in service for just a month, but its efficiency has already reduced expenses and emissions.

According to Eric Milner, BU’s assistant vice president for facilities, the large-capacity, wood-burning boiler fired up for the first time in mid-December. By Jan. 12, BU burned approximately 1,000 tons of wood chips, saving about $15,000 compared with the other boilers housed at the university’s steam plant.

“By using wood chips to generate steam, our emissions of sulfur dioxide were reduced by 80 percent and our emissions of nitrogen oxide were reduced by 40 percent,” he said.

The biomass boiler replaced a 59-year-old coal stoker and is now the primary steam producer for BU’s heating plant. Paid for, in part, by a $500,000 Energy Harvest grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection, the total project cost was $2 million.

Previously, five coal stokers burned 7,000 tons of coal per year to heat 1.5 million square feet of residence halls and academic buildings. BU continues to use a 1991 natural gas boiler.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.