Seattle Steam constructs biomass storage facility

By Erin Vogele
Web exclusive posted Oct. 10, 2008 at 9:45 a.m. CST

The Seattle Steam Co. held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new renewable energy storage facility on Oct. 7. The biomass will be used to help produce steam for the company's downtown district heating system, which serves 175 customers. The renewable energy storage facility will be located across the street form the company's new biomass boiler facility, which has been under construction since last spring. The facility is expected to use 40 tons of waste wood biomass per day.

According to David Easton, Seattle Steam's vice president of business development, the biomass material will be sourced from local wood waste, such as pallets, crates, construction debris and tree trimmings. Instead of entering the landfill, the wood waste will be redirected to a recycling center where it will be processed into wood chips for use in the boiler system. Easton said the facility will use clean debris materials that don't contain paint, pressure treated wood, lead or nails.

Easton said the biomass facility will allow Seattle Steam to reduce costs and carbon dioxide emissions. The biomass boiler will displace about half the company's natural gas usage. He expects the new boiler to be operating on natural gas by December. The boiler will begin utilizing wood biomass in June 2009.