Hurst Boiler News

Southeast Alaska Discovery Center Biomass Boiler

Hurst Boiler | October 9, 2011

The high cost of heat has been central to years of discussion and planning for the new pilot biomass boiler system now coming to life at the spectacular Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan.

The center, which provides a wealth of information to more than a million visitors each year, has replaced two oil-fired boilers with one custom designed, highly efficient system to be fueled by local wood densifiedinto fuel pucks. The boiler system is expected to serve as a showcase location to be replicated in similar facilities throughout Alaska.

Under the knowledgeable direction of E. Dane Ash (Tyonek-Alcan Pacific LLC), substantial cost savings and environmental benefits will be realized immediately. In August, the Hon. Harris Sherman, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment visited the center and was briefed on the new system by Mr. Ash. At start-up, a sustainability will be presented by Global Energy Solutions, Inc. and raised to acknowledge the use of biomass and the elimination of fossil fuels.

The Boiler

A Hurst S100 Series Fire Tube 27 HP HydronicWater Heating Boiler was customed-designed to accommodate limited indoor installation space, noise restrictions, and proximity to fuel delivery and storage areas.

Equipment and System Changes

  • Two oil-fired boilers replaced with onebiomass-fired boiler which can burn any wood product up to 50% moisture content
  • Preheater to optimize combustion
  • Ash removal system

The Fuel

  • Densified, low-moisture wood pucks.
  • Ultimately, clippings from Ketchikan walking trails will beused for the boiler fuel.

The Benefits

  • Fossil Fuel Emissions Eliminated
  • High Costs (fuel and marine transportation) Reduced
  • Low Temperature Fuel Storage Issues Eliminated


In June, 2011 Gregory W. Smith, President of Global Energy Solutions, Inc. served as a keynote speaker for Fifth Annual Native American Economic Development Conference in Anaheim, CA where he described the initiatives now being implemented in Ketchikan.

Mr. Smith, a technology partner and solid fuel boiler expert for Hurst Boiler & Welding Co., Inc. of Coolidge, GA, was able to share similar success stories of wood-fired boiler systems installed at institutional campuses and manufacturing facilities throughout the US in particularly challenging and remote locations.

Together, Greg Smith and Dane Ash are committed to working with Native groups, military installations and municipalities to utilize available biomass for power and heat with the added benefits of job creation, wildfire mitigation, community stability, and decreased air pollution through planned forest management.