SULLIVAN COUNTY, NH BIOMASS DISTRICT ENERGY PROJECT PROVIDES IMMEDIATE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
Perseverance was the key for Sullivan County’s District Energy biomass project. It was more than worth the wait.
Sullivan County had been interested in utilizing biomass for quite some time in order to reduce reliance on foreign fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. After much research by Facilities Director JohnCressy and his team, the County purchased a Hurst biomass boiler district heating system with abackpressure steam turbine/generator to serve the County’s nursing home, office and prison complex inUnity, New Hampshire.
According to Cressy, there was an initiative and a feasibility study for a biomass project in progresswhen he arrived 5 years ago; however it did not meet Sullivan County’s expectations and the entireproject was shelved. Then the Wood Education and Resource Center stepped in and offered to do anew feasibility study. “The study blew our minds,” he said. “The numbers looked almost too good to betrue.”
In the meantime, Cressy was busy researching biomass boilers for the project, looking at almost 2dozen plants to see what they were using. “I ran into a Hurst competitor at the Northeast BiomassConference 2 years ago and was shown some of his equipment. We liked the concept and robust natureof the “walking floor” so I specified it in our bid package. The equipment specified by the winning bidderturned out to be Hurst equipment. I hadn’t even heard of Hurst; but after learning what I did, I wasdelighted that they were central to our project.”
Sullivan County built a new 3000 sq ft building for the project. The new biomass system providesspace heating, hot water heating, power to steam dryers and to the kitchen. “90% of our fuel load hasreplaced fossil fuels,” Cressy said.
Bob Waller and his company, Thermal Systems Inc., the authorized Hurst Boiler representative servingMaine, New Hampshire and the surrounding areas, coordinated and performed all specification andprocurement services for the project. Waller and TSI oversaw the development of the equipmentspecifications, the equipment arrangement design, and the procurement of the components necessaryto meet the requirements of the county initiative.
“Even though it’s still a new system, I’m very pleased with the Hurst equipment,” Cressy said. “It’srobust, which is important in New Hampshire, as we put heating systems through a lot up here.”
The Hurst equipment utilized in the project included:
The $3.4 million project was funded in part through several grants totaling $675,000 in addition to a tax-exempt bond through a local bank. Due to the recent Renewable Energy incentives now available tothe marketplace, the Sullivan County Unity District CHP Energy Project was able to secure the followinggrants:
So far, the benefits of the biomass system have exceeded expectations. In just the first 4 months ofoperation since December 2013, the county realized a 20% savings out of its $500,000 annual fuelbudget, and the County expects that the annual fuel savings will pay for the construction bond within15 years. With the sale of energy credits, the County expects to receive a minimum of $75,000/year ofoffsetting revenue.
In addition, the project allows all those energy dollars to stay in the local economy. Inspired by thesuccess of this project, Cressy has been working on educational outreach within the county about thebenefits of biomass energy. “One of the most important parts of this biomass initiative is building publicawareness of the benefits of lessening dependence on fossil and foreign fuels, thus putting more dollarsinto the local economy,” he said. Cressy added that most of the woodchips used for fuel are foundwithin a 5 mile radius of the county complex.
Cressy is very pleased with both the Hurst equipment and follow up service provided. “Hurst always hassaid their goal is for us to be happy customers. And we are.”