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Biomass Helps Power National Lab

MachineDesign.com | January 8, 2009


The Savannah River National Lab, Aiken, S.C., recently replaced a 1950s era coal-burning steam generating plant with a state-of-the-art facility that will burn biomass, mostly wood from the local logging industry. The original plant was too large, so Savannah managers often had to vent much of the steam, which reduced its efficiency. The new plant has two state-of-the-art HURST 30,000 lb/ hr steam boilers, one burning biomass, and the other fuel oil. The fuel-oil boiler is a standby for maintenance periods and peak demands. The plant cost $10 million to build, but should save $1.5 million annually in reduced operating and maintenance costs, as well as less energy consumption. It also meets new Clean Air and Water Act standards.