From Dartmouth News Service: Dartmouth is seeking proposals to build a biomass energy heating facility and transmission system to replace the existing central heating system. The new system, estimated to cost more than $200 million, will change how heat is produced and delivered on campus, transitioning from steam heat to hot-water heat, a change that is expected to improve heating efficiency by 20 percent and will mean replacing the steam pipes that are in more than 110 buildings on campus.
The College is beginning the process of getting the plant built and operating—which includes reviewing design proposals and beginning permitting processes—with the goal of having the new facility operating by late 2025. A site for the new plant is expected to be chosen this spring.
The project will be financed, built, and operated by a private company in partnership with Dartmouth, and will allow the College to stop burning the millions of gallons of No. 6 fuel oil used in the existing heating plant, which is located in the center of campus. Instead, biomass—in this case sustainably sourced waste-wood material from forestry and timber industries—will be burned in the new plant. The materials will be purchased as locally as possible. A review of the availability of wood biomass shows that a sufficient quantity of the material is available in the region and across New England.
When the new facility goes on line, the existing plant, which has been in use in various forms since 1898, will be decommissioned and the land it occupies, approximately one acre, made available for other uses.