Brigham Young University ends coal use; readies cogen plant construction

Brigham Young University said Dec. 5 than an iconic smokestack, which has been a part of campus since 1958, will be torn down with other parts of the Central Heating Plant starting this week to make way for a new cogeneration facility.

Construction of the facility, which will be integrated into the Central Heating Plant located south of the Crabtree Building on the campus in Provo, Utah, is expected to be completed by summer 2018. Historically gas and coal have been used in the Central Heating Plant to heat and cool the campus. BYU’s new cogen will replace the coal boilers with a natural-gas-powered turbine while two of the natural gas-fired boilers will remain as backup.

The new facility, to be completed in 2018, will provide heating and cooling capabilities for campus and will offset 30% to 50% of BYU’s current electrical needs, all without burning coal.

“Additionally, a Co-Gen facility is considered a green source of power and will reduce our emissions significantly,” said Paul Greenwood, BYU director of engineering and utilities.

The to-be-demolished smokestack hasn’t been used since Nov. 2, the last day BYU used coal. BYU has now completely eliminated the practice of burning coal, which has been one of the major fuel sources for campus through its history. The stack will eventually be replaced by three smaller stacks on the new cogen facility, each roughly half the height of the current stack and much smaller in diameter.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.