Veteran affairs medical center plans biomass CHP system

By Anna Austin
Posted September 10, 2010, at 10:07 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to install a biomass combined-heat-and-power (CHP) system at Veteran Affairs Medical Hospital in Canandaigua, N.Y., and has selected Lockheed Martin and Whiting Turner as winner of the $15 million contract.

The fully-automated system will run on locally-sourced woody biomass, including wood chips and bark salvaged from local lumber yards and logging operations. Lockheed Martin spokesman said the boilers to be installed will use an estimated 15,000 tons of wood chips annually.

Lockheed Martin will build, install and test the equipment as well as train hospital employees to maintain the biomass system. Whiting Turner will provide onsite construction leadership and work with the VA to integrate the biomass system.

Lockheed Martin has a biomass CHP facility in Owego, N.Y., that opened in 2008. By switching from fuel oil to wood chips, the project has reduced the plant's heating and cooling bills by half and reduced its carbon footprint by 25 percent. The Canandaigua biomass system will be the same configuration as the system in Owego.

The project is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Smith said this will mark the company's second project after its Owego facility. Construction on the Canandaigua plant will begin this month and will take about three years to complete, according to Smith.