EPA recognizes University of Iowa biomass project

By Luke Geiver | June 06, 2012

A biomass boiler retrofit project at the University of Iowa has received a Green Power Partnership Award from the U.S. EPA.

According to the EPA, the school was recognized based on its use of oat hulls to displace coal in one of two solid fuel boilers. The main power plant at the school generates nearly 9 million kilowatts per hour of steam, helping provide roughly three percent of the entire Iowa City campus’ electrical needs. The award recognizes an organization, program or individual that has significantly advanced the development of green power sources. In addition to the awarded project, the University of Iowa is running a woody biomass boiler at a satellite campus.

The biomass project on the Iowa City campus was ranked number 17 for all on-site renewable energy generation producers. Kimberly-Clark Corp. was ranked number one, generating 8 percent of all electricity from biomass. Of the top 20, only two projects, Kimberly-Clark and the University of Iowa, were awarded for their use of biomass, but 14 projects on the list were noted for their use of on-site power from biogas.

On the EPA’s National Top 50 Green Power Partnership list, which is dedicated to large organizations in the U.S., biomass use accounted for two out of the top three green power producers in the country. At number one, Intel Corp. was noted for using 88 percent of all electricity from biomass and other sources like wind, solar or small-scale hydro. In the number three spot, Microsoft Corp. was noted for using almost 50 percent renewable electricity from biomass, small-scale hydro and wind. The EPA itself ranks at number 18 on the list, using 100 percent renewable power coming from biomass, biogas, solar and wind.

According to the EPA, the National Top 50 list represents nearly 16 billion kilowatt-hours annually.