Froling Energy of Peterborough is building the University of New Hampshire’s first large-scale biomass boiler system on the Durham campus. Located directly across the street from Wildcat Stadium, the new Northwest Heating Plant will provide heat and hot water to four buildings and 10 greenhouses in the Thompson School neighborhood.
This winter the new wood chip boiler and two new LP gas back-up boilers will be the sole source of heat for these buildings. A key part of the project is to run pipes underground to create a small district heating system serving Putnam Hall, Barton Hall, Cole Hall, the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and the 10 MacFarlane Greenhouses.
UNH’s central combined heat and power plant had provided heat to these buildings for many years but the long pipe run out to the Thompson School area was failing. Instead of spending money on replacing the old pipes, it was decided to create a new separate district heating system fueled by wood chips.
UNH facilities officials calculate that the plant will consume 750 tons of semi-dry wood chips (PDCs) which is the equivalent of over 70,000 gallons of #2 fuel oil (or over 91,000 therms of natural gas). PDCs are screened wood chips with 25% to 30% moisture content, made from sustainably harvested trees sourced from forests in southwest NH and central Massachusetts.
As of mid-August, the boiler building is up and all of the pipe runs are in place. Next, the boilers and all their related piping and hardware will be installed. The plant is expected to be operational in October with final completion in December.