PSU to convert campus energy source from diesel oil to compressed natural gas

May 10th, 2013 by Lynn

    Published in the Littleton Courier May 1, 2013

    PLYMOUTH—Plymouth State University is making a major change in how it provides heat and hot water to campus with the conversion from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas (CNG). The current fuel-oil-fired co-generation plant located adjacent to the Langdon Woods residence hall will be retrofitted to a CNG fired thermal energy facility, which will provide both cost-savings and pollution reduction as a benefit.

     The CNG conversion is possible because CNG distribution facilities are coming online around New England; delivery trucks will be loaded with the fuel, driven to the plant at PSU and parked for several weeks while the contents of the tank are consumed. Stephen Taksar, PSU’s vice president for Finance and Administration, said the conversion to CNG is considered a transitional energy strategy.

    “This decision was made after a thorough review of several energy alternatives by our campus energy committee representing various segments of the campus community; our findings show converting to CNG now produces cost savings and significant environmental benefits,” Taksar said. “However, the long-term plan is to transition to biomass fuel in the future. We are convinced that ultimately biomass is the best strategy for thermal generation on campus because of the potential cost savings, availability of regional fuel, local economic benefits, and reduction in carbon emissions.”

    Brian Eisenhauer, PSU’s director of Environmental Sustainability, noted CNG technology is spreading rapidly and the fuel is produced in Canada. By using CNG, PSU will reduce its carbon footprint at least 12 percent per year and is consuming a safe and dependable fuel source.

    “Most of our CNG fuel will be coming from gas transported from Canada which does not use fracking as an extraction method,” Eisenhauer said. “Our current fuel source is extremely polluting in both emissions and its production, so the benefits of the project clearly outweigh the benefits of the status quo.”

    The motivation for converting to CNG is driven by the need for cost savings and making progress towards carbon neutrality, as reflected in the Climate Action Plan of the President’s Climate Commitment signed in May 2007.

    For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr. or call 535-2775.

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