Posted: Dec 30, 2013 3:42 PM by Paige Hornor, KOMU 8 News Reporter
Updated: Dec 30, 2013 10:39 PM
COLUMBIA - After three years of work, Nancy Heimann will soon see if the biomass fuel she makes is something the city can use. Biomass is made from materials such as coffee grounds, wood chips, corn refuse and grasses. The city will be testing to see if these materials can burn in the Columbia Water and Light's Power Plant sometime next year.
The biomass pellets would be used in addition to coal, which is currently the primary energy source. Columbia tested the use of biomass from a different company last year, but the materials broke apart and burned too quickly. Now, Columbia is working with Enginuity Worldwide LLC, where Heimann is the president. She says her product won't have the same problems as the last test did.
"What we do is we bind every fiber to every fiber using an innovative binder so we have much stronger durability and much more longevity," Heimann said.
This is a process for making biomass that's new to the industry. Heimann says the experimental pellets are bigger. They are designed to have the same shape and characteristics as coal.
"The future of biomass at the Columbia power plant is going to be determined by how well it acts like coal, so we don't have to be able to do a lot of upgrades to the plant," Connie Kacprowicz, spokesperson for Columbia Water and Light, said.
The product also has to be able to withstand the elements, because it will be stored outside.
"We think we have a good solution for that to take things that are on the ground and economically bring those to an engineered fuel so they can be used to supplement coal and give longer life to our coal fired legacy fleet," Heimann said.
A RENEWABLE GOAL
Columbia's renewable energy goal is to use 15% renewable resources by the end of 2022. The city exceeded this year's goal of 7% renewable energy, but biomass could help them increase that number even more.
"The National Renewable Energy labs has documented that certain biomass will have a carbon negative footprint," Heimann said. "That means we can use the energy inside that biomass and not involve any more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
If the test burn succeeds, the city will need to determine the cost and approve the purchase of biomass from Enginuity. Biomass materials are more costly than coal, which is a plentiful resource in the Midwest.
Kacprowicz says cost is a big consideration, because the renewable energy mandate says renewable energy cannot raise the cost on utility bills more than 3%.
"There are ways to use biomass in conjunction with coal so that we do not raise the overall fuel price but a few percent but we get significant impact on the emissions especially on the CO2 emissions," Heimann said.
TESTING THE PROJECT
For the test burn, the city received a $50,000 grant from the American Public Power Association for materials and research. Biomass costs $350 per ton. The total cost of the test burn is $375,000.
Heimann says investing in biomass helps local farmers.
"We really think that technologies that enable the bio-economy can really have a transformative effect in the rural areas of our state and others," Heimann said.
Enginuity works with Missouri Corn Growers Association to get materials like corn stover from local farmers. Corn stover is the waste product left on the ground after corn has been harvested. For the test burn, the materials will come from the Missouri river bottoms.
Heimann says the test burn will take a few months and the city is planning for it in the summer.
Posted 4:37 PM 11/24/2015 by Steve Dawson, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - The holidays are a time when phone scammers take advantage of people who look to donate to a worthy cause.
The United Way of Central Missouri said it received a complaint from a local company, which said an unknown person called them claiming to represent the Randolph (More)
Posted 4:07 PM 11/24/2015 by Megan Kelly, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA – Downtown Columbia is a highly sought after in terms of space, according to a recent survey by Plaza Commercial Realty.
The survey found only two percent of commercial space is vacant out of the three million square feet downtown.
"Right now there's a pretty deep (More)
Posted 4:00 PM 11/24/2015 by Eric Yount, KOMU 8 Reporter
JEFFERSON CITY - Thanksgiving travelers this weekend will face increased traffic and the safety risks that come with it, and mid-Missouri agencies are getting ready.
AAA estimates 42 million Americans will travel by car this holiday weekend. 872,000 of those will be Missourians.
Adv. - more news below
Posted 1:34 PM 11/24/2015 by Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that 91 percent of college campuses across the nation did not report any incidents of rape on campus in 2014. Both Stephens College and the Columbia College campus in Columbia fall into this category. The University of Missouri's archive (More)
Posted 2:57 PM 11/24/2015 by The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned the first-degree murder convictions and the death sentence for one of four men convicted of raping two sisters and throwing them to their death from an abandoned Mississippi River bridge in St. Louis 24 (More)
Posted 2:27 PM 11/24/2015 by Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
COLUMBIA – MFA Oil Company named a new vice president of retail automotive Tuesday.
MFA Oil announced Edward Harper will oversee the operations of Big O Tires and Jiffy Lube in addition to the company’s construction and maintenance departments.
“Ed is an (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 2:10 PM 11/24/2015 by Jim Salter, The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Fifty years after a St. Louis gospel singer says she was told her daughter died at birth, and months after the 76-year-old woman learned that her daughter was still alive, a judge is being asked to restore the birth mother's parental rights.(More)