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UND Steam Plant to Burn Cleaner and Greener
As the University of North Dakota forges ahead with its sustainability strategies, “Powered by Green” is becoming even more of a reality with the help of BenchMark Energy.
A major goal of the UND is to burn a cleaner and greener fuel. That includes the University’s coal fired steam plant, which supplies live steam to the campus and several surrounding facilities.
Soon, the UND Steam Plant — built in 1909, upgraded several times, with a 13-mile pipeline network rebuilt after the 1997 flood — will add an environmentally friendlier, renewable energy source to its fuel mix: glycerin.
“We’re going to blend 10 to 20 percent glycerin into the coal to increase the energy value of the fuel,” said Randall Bohlman, technology advancement coordinator at UND Facilities Management.
“This glycerin will be produced in a plant that will be built by BenchMark Energy in Grand Forks starting this fall.”
The University’s proposed glycerin-coal blend will reduce the total amount of coal burned at the UND Steam Plant by about 105 rail cars per year; the plant currently burns 536 cars of coal annually, Bohlman estimates.
BenchMark Energy, CEO Mark Bateman said the planned 21,600-square-foot plant will employ about 30 people when it becomes fully operational.
The facility will process glycerin from several biodiesel plants located in the region.