The Maine Department of Conservation has announced that the University of Maine at Presque Isle will receive funding in the amount of $750,000 toward replacement of two oil-fired boilers with a wood chip boiler.
The new boiler will be the heating source for two of the campus' primary teaching facilities, Pullen Hall and Folsom Hall. "We are thrilled to receive this grant that will help us not only improve the efficiency of our campus facilities, but also help the campus move closer to meeting our carbon neutral commitment," said President Don Zillman.
In total, eight wood-to-energy conversion projects around the State will share more than $5.55 million in federal stimulus funding. These grants are the second round to be awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
In addition to the UMPI project, the grants will provide partial funding for projects at Northern Maine Medical Center and six school systems - RSU 39 – Limestone Community School, Aroostook County; Greenville Middle/High School, Piscataquis County; Lee Academy, Penobscot County; Madawaska Junior/Senior High School, Aroostook County; Sanford School Department, York County; Waterville Senior High School, Kennebec County.
The projects call for wood chip or pellet boilers to replace or supplement existing heating systems, saving thousands of gallons of oil. In addition, the projects will reduce dependence on nonrenewable energy resources, support sustainable forestry, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The new wood-fired boiler selected by the University will utilize either wood pellets or chips. The University plans to use wood pellets obtained locally from Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Maine. The pellets are manufactured from waste wood from certified local mills. "We are very pleased to be able to use locally-produced pellets," said UMPI President Don Zillman. "It is a great opportunity for the University to directly support the development and growth of this local industry."
Campus officials anticipate that the project will begin in May 2011 with completion in August 2011.