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April 28, 2008

Switching From Coal to Woody Biomass

biomass, woody biomass, pine beetleA school district in the mountains of Northwestern Colorado is replacing its old coal-fired boilers with a system that will burn woody biomass - a suddenly plentiful resource - thanks to the region's pine beetle epidemic that is threatening to kill off nearly all of the state's lodgelpole pines in the next 3-5 years.

The South Routt School District will be spending the next few months replacing it's old coal-fired boiler with a biomass boiler that will use wood pellets for fuel instead. A significant portion of the pellets will come from the new Confluence Energy facility that is just about ready to open its doors in Kremmling, Colorado.

The project was financed The Governor’s Energy Of­­fice and a state bond program. McKinstry, an energy-oriented consulting and contracting firm based in the Seattle area, also is contributing free services for the boiler, which Reed said will be “cost-neutral” for South Routt schools. The change is part of a $4.1 million project to improve energy efficiency in schools and buildings, and could save the district $10,000 a year.

See Also:

"Should We Pursue Biofuels From Beetle-Killed Wood?" :: CleanTechnica (2/2008)
"Jamtland: A County Fueled by Biomass" (Video) :: ecopolitology (3/2008)
Steamboat Pilot (4/2008)

Photo: Steve Roe

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