Power Plant Goes Quiet, Campus Moves to Geothermal Energy

2 years 6 months 1 week ago May 28, 2014 May 28, 2014 Wednesday, May 28 2014 Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:48:00 PM CDT in News
By: Shannon Shaver, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

ROLLA - A World War II-era power plant has provided energy to much of the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus for nearly seven decades. The plant is powering down as the university makes the transition to a geothermal energy system.

The power plant, which was constructed in 1945, burned coal and wood chips to provide steam to much of campus. The plant's boilers were permanently shut down May 21.

Construction of the geothermal system began in May 2012 with the drilling of ground-source wells around campus.The heat recovery chillers of the three main campus plants have been operating since early April, and the system is providing heat to six buildings on campus. Since mid-April, the system has also provided the majority of the chilled water supply used for air conditioning on campus, says James Packard, director of facilities operations at Missouri S&T.

By this fall, Missouri S&T's geothermal energy system, one of the most comprehensive ever undertaken by a university, will be in service. It will provide heating and cooling to 17 buildings on campus and chilled water to the majority of campus buildings.

The geothermal system consists of three separate plants that will distribute energy from the system to different parts of campus. Over the summer, a fourth facility will be completed to provide heating and cooling to the Gale Bullman Building at 10th Street and Bishop Avenue.

The geothermal project was approved by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators in 2010 and has been funded through the sale of bonds by the university. The system is expected to save more than $1 million annually in energy and operational costs.

When completed, the geothermal system is expected to cut the university's annual energy use by 50 percent and reduce its carbon footprint by 25,000 metric tons per year. The geothermal system will also reduce Missouri S&T's water usage by over 10 percent, or 10 million gallons per year, and eliminate a $34 million backlog in deferred maintenance costs for the aging power plant.

The system allows energy to be stored in and reclaimed from well fields around campus. Approximately 790 wells will serve the geothermal plants.

 

 

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