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A project that replaced an existing gas boiler with a new biomass boiler in the Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant, located on the University of Iowa Research Park campus, has won the Grand Place Award (first place in category) in the Energy Production Category of the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards competition. The competition is sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).
"The installation of the biomass boiler in the Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant is part of an overall goal to operate the UI Research Park on 100 percent renewable energy," says Glen Mowery, director of Utilities & Energy Management, UI Facilities Management.
The new boiler can use either natural gas or biomass fuel such as wood chips from a local saw mill. Additional biomass fuel sources being considered for use are oat hulls, methane gas collected at landfills, or other natural resources which allow for the most cost effective and sustainable operation. Oat hulls have been used as fuel in the Main Power Plant since 2003.
Using renewable fuels instead of natural gas helps reduce the UI’s carbon footprint and brings the university one step closer to accomplishing its 2020 Vision goal of 40 percent renewable energy consumption on the campus by 2020.
Additional systems that were installed as part of this project include an ash and exhaust emissions system that meets the Iowa Department of Natural Resource emission standards and a biomass burning gasifier to be used for research by the UI College of Engineering.
Representatives from Facilities Management and Shive-HatteryInc., the engineering design firm on the project, accepted the award during the ACEC/Iowa Awards Banquet held on May 2 in Des Moines.
To read more about renewable energy at the UI and the Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant visit: www.facilities.uiowa.edu/uem/renewable-energy/ .