Alaska, heavily forested, built on rock andsurrounded by water, every commodity that entersthe country arrives by air and sea. The use of oil isa struggle for both the economy andthe environment. Oil must come from elsewhereand be transported but of course by additional fuel,fuel that is subject to oil price stability.A site that could help giving a solution to theproblem is the Southeast Alaska Discovery Centerin Ketchikan. The site that provides information tomore than a million visitors each year is also thesite where a pilot biomass system is now comingto life. A two oil-fired boilers serving the 250,000-sq-ft center were replaced with a highly efficientsystem fueled by local wood was manufactured by
To address concerns towards issues related tobuilding space, fuel costs, comfort, reliability,simplicity of operation more especiallyenvironmental concerns, the biomass boilersystem was developed by Hurst representativeGregory W. Smith of Global Energy Solutions Inc.under the direction of E. Dane Ash, project managerfor Tyonek-Alcan Pacific LLC.The excessive use of fossil fuels has been long aproblem in any point of the world more especially toAlaska, the boiler system was intended to highlighthow biomass can reduce or eliminate the use offossil fuels. The Hurst S100 Series Fire Tube 27 HPHydronic Water Heating Boiler features a pre-
The new boiler requires heating for a minimum ofnine months a year; it is located at lower level of theDiscovery Center. To protect form extreme moisturethe local wood densified into fuel pucks is deliveredto an elevated walking-floor storage bin in avestibule area that is designed especially for thewoods. It is important to protect the woods becausethe biomass-fired boiler can burn any wood productwith up to 50-percent moisture content. Not toworry, freezing is not an issue because the walkingfloor easily breaks up any frozen contents.
Many benefits come along with the use of thisbiomass boiler, the country saved as much as two-thirds of the fuel costs. There is almost no residualash when densified pucks are used. But, treeclippings from the Ketchikan walking trails will beground and fed into the boiler, eliminating the needfor transport to a landfill, burning, and othermethods of disposal. The system easily can bereplicated for heat or heat/power generation up to20,000 kw.
Systems that were improved by the newtechnology include municipal solid waste, as wellas woody biomass for steam production andsteam to power. In June 2011, Smith was akeynote speaker for the fifth annual NativeAmerican Economic Development Conference inAnaheim, California, he proudly flaunted theinitiatives being implemented in Ketchikan andshared success stories of biomass-fired boilersystems installed on institutional campuses andin manufacturing facilities throughout the UnitedStates, particularly in challenging and remotelocations.