University Of Maine Farmington Celebrates New Biomass Facility

The Biomass Central Heating Plant opened Sunday on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington. The official opening of the largest biomass hot water heating plant in Maine celebrated sustainability and what thinking locally and buying locally means. “This energy fits into the local, regional and economic landscape,” said Luke Kellett, UMF’s sustainability […]

The Biomass Central Heating Plant opened Sunday on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington. The official opening of the largest biomass hot water heating plant in Maine celebrated sustainability and what thinking locally and buying locally means.

“This energy fits into the local, regional and economic landscape,” said Luke Kellett, UMF’s sustainability coordinator and assistant professor of anthropology. “Visitors can understand how the journey of a single cut tree that is chipped, is carried in a truck, is stored in the bunker below here and eventually gets burned and turns into a hot shower for a freshman at UMF.”

The plant, which will consume 4,000 tons of locally sourced hardwood chips a year, replaces 95 percent of the 390,000 gallons of fossil fuel that was burned annually to heat the campus. There are more than 2 miles of heat lines that carry the hot water from the plant throughout the campus.

“The forest is the poor man’s overcoat,” UMF President Kathryn Foster said to visitors Sunday before the ribbon cutting that formally opened the plant. “We stand today at the University of Maine at Farmington’s new overcoat fueled by the forest of Maine, authorized by the University of Maine System and permitted by the town and village boards.”

Foster said environmental stewardship is a core value in the classroom and in campus life. The new $11 million biomass plant, which takes its wood chips from a 50-mile radius of Farmington, is heating and providing hot water to 23 campus buildings.

From the Portland Press Herald: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/03/13/umaine-farmington-celebrates-new-biomass-facility/

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