MU Plant 'Chips' In

1 decade 7 months 1 week ago Friday, October 12 2007 Oct 12, 2007 Friday, October 12, 2007 5:05:26 AM CDT October 12, 2007 in News

Workers will mix the wood chips with coal to burn. Plant managers want to reduce the use of coal for power, touting the fact that wood chips are a renewable resource.

"We continue to work with campus researchers for viable biomass fuel such as crop waste, corn cobs, switch grass," said plant superintendent Gregg Coffin. "We've done a lot of testing in that area and we'll continue to due experimental testing."

Managers hope using wood will reduce emissions by about four percent. They say that using wood will reduce costs, as the wood is purchased from Missouri suppliers.

"It comes from New Florence, Missouri, which is much closer to us than the coal supply which is in Illinois," said Phil Shocklee, the plant's associate director. "So, it's bringing a fuel source closer to the plant reducing truck miles to get the fuel to the plant."

The plant purchased 7,000 tons of wood chips made from Missouri mulch. The hope among plant managers is that the financial savings from burning wood chips will trickle down to the students.

"Tuition is a big cost for them," said Shocklee, "and if we can keep lowering the cost of operating the university that's extremely important."

The plant has a two-year permit to burn the wood chips, but it hopes the project will become permanent.

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