Virginia Tech converting boilers at steam plant from coal to gas

Virginia Tech is making its power plant cleaner for the environment. The work began in summer 2015 when the university installed a 4 mile-long, 8 inch in size pipeline across school. Now rather of running the boilers on coal, the school will use gas which will minimize carbon emissions.

Virginia Tech's boiler conversion task is part of the school's Climate Action Commitment that was established in 2009. With this modification, the school's power plant will cut its carbon emissions in half by 2020. Chief of Staff in the school's Facilities Operations John Beach discussed, "It's in line with the university's Climate Action Commitment to be environmentally accountable and to lower greenhouse gas emissions in operations."

In 2009, the university established the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment to set long term campus sustainability goals. Among them, Virginia Tech has dedicated to reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020, improving energy effectiveness where and whenever possible in campus structures, to accomplishing a minimum LEED rating of silver for all brand-new building, and lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent listed below 1990 levels by 2050.

To this day, 2 of the plant s five boilers have been upgraded to burn natural gas and continue to cogenerate electrical power. Extra changes are prepared as the university reduces making use of coal over the next couple of years.

The pipeline will be cutting carbon quantities and expenses, as the new pipeline might conserve Virginia Tech $1 million each year in operating and fuel costs.

"The savings will be phased in however we do anticipate understanding enhanced cost savings over the period of the next 4 years," Beach stated.

This brand-new pipeline is not simply going to be helping Virginia Tech's school; it's also going to assist local gas users, specifically coming up in the winter season.

"The power plant can be a very large user of gas when we're shooting gas into the boilers," Beach stated. "The distribution network, prior to the installation of the pipeline, did not have adequate capability at really cold times of the year to insure reputable operation for all clients."

ATMOS Energy consumers in the location no longer have to contend with the plant for gas to warm their houses.

It's not simply for when it's cold. The school anticipates seeing advantages starting immediately as it gets warmer out.

"The school depends upon a steam utility throughout the year, certainly in the winter season for heating, but likewise for processed steam even throughout that summertime," Beach discussed. "We operate continuously 24/7, 365 days per year."

Beach discussed it's unusual for a university to have a plant like this on campus, and it's crucial they run it the proper way moving forward.

The school might not disclose how much they paid to make get the pipeline just that it was thanks to collaboration with ATMOS that brought it in.

Here is the news release from Virginia Tech:

As part of the university s continuous effort to improve campus sustainability, Virginia Tech is transforming boilers at its Central Steam Plant from operating on coal to gas, a change that will reduce carbon emissions at the plant by almost 50 percent by 2020.

In addition, the boiler conversion job could save the university more than $1 million a year in operating and fuel expenses.

Virginia Tech’s Central Steam Plant annually generates a steam output greater than 943 billion BTU’s (British thermal units, one of which is roughly the heat produced by burning a single wooden match) and offers more than 100 structures with a part of their heat, hot water, and electricity requirements on the Blacksburg school.

The conversion from coal to natural gas is yet one more method Virginia Tech is dedicated to the sustainability efforts described in our 2009 climate action strategy, said President Tim. As we work to resolve these challenges through our teaching and research study, we have the opportunity to use our own school as a learning environment and to not just test, however to live out future options.

In 2009, the university established the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment to set long term school sustainability goals. Among them, Virginia Tech has actually dedicated to reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020, enhancing energy performance where and whenever possible in school buildings, to accomplishing a minimum LEED rating of silver for all brand-new building, and minimizing co2 emissions by 80 percent listed below 1990 levels by 2050.

Through an agreement with ATMOS Energy, the university s gas supplier, a new, bigger gas line was installed from the Corporate Research Center to the university s Central Steam Plant in 2014 The brand-new 20,000-foot-long pipeline is eight inches in diameter and permits Virginia Tech to get uninterruptable gas service to the plant.

The brand-new pipeline has the capability to deal with the energy requirements of the campus today, and several years into the future.

Previously, the Central Steam Plant ran on a firm (uninterruptible) gas agreement with ATMOS Energy, meaning the university needed to be prepared to change totally off of natural gas within 30 minutes to guarantee supply to more critical gas users in the location.

To date, two of the plant’s 5 boilers have actually been upgraded to burn gas and continue to cogenerate electrical power. Additional changes are planned as the university lowers using coal over the next few years.

The outcome of these improvements will greatly decrease our carbon emissions while maintaining reliable, affordable energy to our school, said Vice President for Administration Sherwood Wilson.

Associated sustainability efforts

Since the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors authorized the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment in 2009, The University has made significant progress in making a more sustainable campus.

Virginia Tech has actually increased its recycling rate from 36 percent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2015. Elements contributing to this consist of:

The switch to compostable and reusable to-go containers in on-campus dining halls in 2015.
The shift to single stream recycling.
Designated recycling locations for football tailgaters.
The setup of nearly 100 BigBelly Solar compactors in 2012.
In addition, several more campus projects have actually enhanced energy performance, conservation, and alternative transportation efforts. Amongst those are:
The installation of water bottle refill stations in residence halls and scholastic structures.
A bike parking corral near Pamplin Hall.
A covered bike rack in front of the Graduate Life Center.
Funding for the Ytoss program.
The addition of electric hand clothes dryers.
Upgrades to streetlamps.
4 brand-new bicycle fix-it stations.
Installation of a new solar charging table.

Virginia Tech is working to make sure all brand-new building and construction and major renovation jobs have gotten the U.S. Green Building Council s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED buildings use less energy and water, improve indoor air quality, and use in your area produced items and material.

In addition to the 12 buildings that are currently LEED licensed, the 73,000-square-foot Classroom Building now under construction is being built to LEED accreditation standards and planning efforts are underway for the production of a Multi-Modal Transit Facility which is anticipated to be the first LEED platinum licensed building on the Virginia Tech campus.