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Eastern Illinois University upgrades to biomass

Nov. 23, 2009, Minneapolis, MN – Honeywell has announced a $79-million renewable energy and building retrofit program with Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.


November 23, 2009
By Canadian Biomass

Nov. 23, 2009, Minneapolis, MN – Honeywell has announced a $79-million renewable energy and
building retrofit program with Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston,
Illinois. The program, which combines energy-efficient facility upgrades with
one of the largest biomass-fueled heating plants on a university campus, will
help EIU address deferred maintenance, improve its infrastructure, and save
approximately $140 million in energy and operating costs over the next two
decades.

EIU will finance the improvements and use the
savings, guaranteed by Honeywell through a 20-year performance contract, to pay
for the work. The upgrades will affect all facilities on the campus and
significantly curb the university’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon
dioxide emissions will decrease by nearly 20,000 tonnes/year.

The focal point of the program is the
construction of a new steam plant on the southeast corner of campus that will
be driven by two large biomass gasifiers. The plant will use wood chips sourced
from the local logging industry to generate steam and heat buildings on campus.
It will replace the university’s aging steam plant, which is inconveniently
located in the center of campus, consumes more than 10,000 tons/year of coal, and
requires constant maintenance.

Through biomass gasification, the wood chips
are heated in an airtight, oxygen-deprived chamber until they break down to
create a synthetic gas that burns similar to natural gas. The gas is used to
fire the boilers, giving the university a carbon-neutral solution for heating
its facilities.

As part of the new plant, Honeywell will also
install a small turbine that uses excess steam to produce electricity. The
turbine is expected to generate more than 2.9 million kWh/year of electricity,
reducing the amount of energy the university purchases from the grid and
providing another environmentally friendly energy source. EIU has also
implemented various energy conservation measures.

Honeywell will provide ongoing commissioning,
measurement, and verification as part of the contract. The upgrades are expected
to be complete by end of 2012.


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