While temperatures dropped below zero in Maine, Colby College fired up a new biomass plant that will offset the need for oil by burning wood chips, bark and treetops.
The Waterville college says its $11 million biomass plant will replace about 1 million gallons of heating fuel with about 22,000 tons of locally produced wood annually. During peak usage, the college is expected to save $250,000 monthly at current market prices.
The wood will feed boilers to produce steam used for heat, hot water, cooking and cogeneration of electricity.
Colby says the biomass plant is a key part of its plan to be carbon neutral by 2015.