Vermont university fires up 2 wood chip boilers

By Staff | November 19, 2013

Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., recently celebrated the opening of a $6.2 million biomass heating plant. The system is expected to produce 97 percent of the campus’s annual steam requirements and offset the consumption of 657,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil on an annual basis. As a result, the biomass-fired system is expected to reduce heating costs by more than $1 million per year. 

The plant features two wood chip-fueled boilers, sourced from Michigan-based Messersmith Manufacturing Inc. The facility will combust approximately 13,000 tons of locally sourced wood chips annually. 

“Over 80 percent of the wood comes from a state or federally approved forest management program with a balance coming from land that has been approved for clearing for agricultural or development purposes,” said Dave Magida, chief administrative officer at Norwich. “But all of the wood is harvested under Vermont’s Acceptable Management Practices program.”