Saint John's University Plant
The Saint John's University Plant in Queens, NY, is classified as a combined heat and power plant because it is capable of producing heat as well as electricity. In a cogeneration facility such as the St. John's plant, the steam from the boiler system is used for heating and cooling the campus.
According to the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University website: "Although coal is the dirtiest of the three fuels, it saves the University over one million dollars a year in fuel costs. The coal is purchased from Decker, Montana, and contains .5% Sulfur. Because the Power plant has limited pollution control systems, it purchases about 17,000 tons of low sulfur coal at a higher cost per ton ($47.69/ton) compared to higher sulfur coals. The moisture content of the coal is 24-25% but varies because the coal pile sits outside uncovered so the rain and snow is sometimes brought into the stoker as well."
The actual coal combustion system employed at the plant is a 1952 overthrow stoker boiler system. According to the University website: "There are three coal fired stoker steam boilers. The boilers are 70% efficient. Maximum steaming capacity of boiler # 4 which was installed in 1959 is 33,000lbs. of steam per hour; boilers # 1 & # 2 were installed in 1947 and have a maximum output of 12,000 lbs steam per hour respectively. In addition to the three coal fired boilers, which are used most of the time, there are three natural gas/fuel oil boilers. Boiler #3 was installed in 1947 it is a converted coal burner which now runs off of natural gas and has a maximum output of 9,000 lbs/hr. Boiler #5 was installed in 1973 and has a capacity of 45,000 lbs/hr. Boiler 6 was installed in 1999 and can produce 60,000 lb/hr. The three natural gas boilers are not used often because of the current cost of natural gas."
There is a limited amount of pollution control at the current facility: one cyclone dust collection unit on boiler #4, but emissions from boilers #1 and #2 are not regulated. There are plans to install some type of technology to reduce emissions, in line with the EPA's Maximum Achievable Control Technology provision. A three million dollar capital project has been proposed for 2006 which covers the installation of a wet scrubber, which will remove pollutants by using a caustic slurry spray.
At St. John's University the power plant produces about 25% of the campus's electricity usage, with the remaining 75% purchased from Xcel Energy. The coal for the power plant cost approximately $800,000 but this total does not reflect the true cost of electricity generation at the plant because a majority of the energy from the coal is used for heating and cooling.
- "SJU Power Facility Overview" College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University Website, accessed December 2009
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- Anne C. Mulkern, "Colleges Are Battlegrounds for Coal Fight," Greenwire, October 14, 2009.
- Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club, September 2009.
- "DOE Announces Winners of Annual University Coal Research Grants," July 7, 2005.
- American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment