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US university to invest $200 million into biomass plant

US research university Dartmouth College (Dartmouth) announced that it is seeking proposals to construct a biomass energy heating facility and transmission system to replace the institution’s existing central heating system.

This marks a major step in the university’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewables by 2025.

According to a release, the biomass-based system is expected to cost more than $200 million (€175 million).

“With this important initiative, Dartmouth is keeping the promise we made on Earth Day 2017. This work has been eight years in the making, with research and planning from the Sustainability Office, Campus Services, and from faculty, staff, students, and trustees,” said Dartmouth executive vice-president Rick Mills.

The process of the plant’s construction is underway, with Dartmouth reviewing design proposals and beginning permitting processes.

Dartmouth claims that the plant will use locally-sourced wood from forestry and timber industries as feedstock.

With recent legislation changes favouring New England’s biomass, timber and forestry industries, feedstock from the local area can be expected to be abundant.

In September, Bioenergy Insight reported that legislators voted to overturn the vetoing of Senate Bill 365, which focused on the subsidisation of biomass plants across the New England area. The Timberland Owners Association’s spokesperson Steve Bjerklie was reported as calling it a ‘great day’ for the timber industry.

Dartmouth also announced that the goal is to have the facility open and operational by late 2025.

 

This was written by Joshua Heer, junior editor of Bioenergy Insight.





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