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2012 News Releases

Longwood lands $250,000 grant to further develop green energy production

September 14, 2012

Longwood University

Longwood University has received a $250,000 grant from the USDA Forest Service to support an engineering study to design additional boiler capacity with an alternate fuel-feed system for the new heating plant. The university currently uses two wood-fired boilers that run on sawdust and provide heat and hot water to campus buildings; the study will determine whether adding one large boiler or two smaller boilers will be more efficient.

"This is extremely exciting," said Kelly Martin, sustainability coordinator. "I don't know of any facility like the one we have on campus anywhere in the United States. This study will allow us to expand the type of renewable energy we utilize, and with the potential to expand our fuel stream, we will be able to meet the needs of future growth on campus."

The sawdust that fuels the boilers is stored in two silos, a configuration that is not adaptable to changing technology. Part of the grant will pay for a new fuel system design that will enable Longwood to begin testing alternative fuels, thus helping to diversify the university's future biomass fuel sources. The grant is part of a national program to promote environmentally friendly methods of energy production. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that using wood-to-energy methods is "a vital part of America's clean energy future."

Funding was provided in part by Forest Product Lab; Technology Marketing Unit of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.