Burning wood fuels Chadron State College - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Burning wood fuels Chadron State College

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This month in 'Discover Dawes County' we are finding the interesting things, places and people that make the it unique.

For our first look into the northern Nebraska region reporter Anndrea Anderson shows us a college campus running entirely off wood chips.

"Chadron State College made a bold, daring, step about 25 years ago...." said District Forester Doak Nickerson.
 
That bold decision was to abandon common fossil fuels and run the campus' energy entirely off of wood chips.
 
"It's unique in that this is the only college campus in Nebraska that where by the campus is heated and cooled by wood energy."
 
That wood energy heating comes from this plant where thousands of chopped up trees are brought, dumped and incinerated.
 
"This pit that I'm standing in is the chip pit and it's the start of the combustion process. All these chips will soon be burned, and turned into energy."
 
Those chips will move into two huge broilers, where all the magic happens.

And although CSC is somewhat revolutionary in their approach to wood chip burning, Nickerson says it's actually a primitive process.
 
"We've been using wood to heat and cook with for a million years on this planet because it was one of our primary fuel sources."
 
The Chadron area is surrounded by acres of overpopulated forests that proves both beneficial to the school and the forests to be thinned out.
 
"A lot of our pine forest is overstocked, too many trees."
 
And as for how many of those trees are chipped each year...
 
"Oh my that'd be hard to calculate."
 
"We're probably cutting 200 to 300 trees per acre when we do this thinning. So take 200 to 300 times 750 or there about and you'll get the total number of trees that we cut down a year. I'm not a very good mathematician so you can figure that one out yourself."
 
In Chadron, anndrea Anderson, KOTA Territory news.

About 200,000 trees are cut down and turned into energy at Chadron State each year.

 

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