Ferrum College to Go “Greener” with New Biomass Boiler

Ferrum College Announces New Biomass Boiler

U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt calls project “visionary.”
US Rep Robert Hurt

Ferrum, Va. (October 21, 2011) – Ferrum College announced today that construction has begun on a biomass boiler to provide low-cost, green energy to campus. U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt (R) 5th Dist., assisted with the announcement at the English Biomass Energy and Research Complex on the Ferrum College campus.

“This is exactly the kind of leadership that we have to have in this country to solve our energy issues. …the fact that it’s here at Ferrum is no surprise,” said Hurt.

Other speakers, including John English, CEO of English Boiler and Tube, Inc., echoed Hurt’s comments, by pointing out the importance of the academic aspect of the project.  “The project really is research, said English. The work that Ferrum will do with alternative fuels and make them environmentally friendly is cutting edge. It will be shared throughout the United States.”

The facility, to be known as the English Biomass Energy and Research Complex, was designed by English Boiler and Tube Inc. of Richmond and English Construction of Lynchburg.  The company is also installing the boiler in cooperation with the College.  Construction on the site began last August and completion is expected by March 2012.

“We are proud to be building a facility that serves as an example of Ferrum’s commitment to sustainable initiatives,” said College President Jennifer Braaten.

Braaten noted that the biomass boiler will also include an instructional area and research boiler to provide Ferrum College faculty and students with a working lab in which to study green energy technologies.

The energy facility will provide approximately 65% of campus heat and hot water.  The unit is a combined heat and power facility that will also generate about 800 KWe of electricity for the college.  That is enough power to operate 660 American homes annually.

Biomass Boiler Unveiling

Biomass boilers are designed to burn sustainable fuels at extreme temperatures in which emissions, primarily in the form of steam, fall well within the guidelines prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality.  The boiler will burn by-products from the lumber industry, which in many cases would be considered waste.  In the future the boiler may also burn agricultural products such as locally grown switchgrass.  Buying fuel regionally for the boiler will serve as an added economic boost to the area.