Coal giving way to alternative fuels on MU campus

rulakseTThe MU Power Plant continues to throttle back on its use of coal in the face of stiffening environmental regulations and the availability of alternative fuels.

Since the 2008 fiscal year, the amount of coal burned at the power plant to generate electricity and steam to power, heat and cool the MU campus has declined from 181,692 tons to 48,360 tons.

Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 43 percent during that same period, according to Ken Davis, assistant director of energy management at MU.

A lessening reliance on coal has been spurred by greater use of alternative fuels. Wood residues and natural gas make up 63 percent of fuel burned in boilers at the plant on Providence Road.

Natural gas, which produces about half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal, accounts for 43 percent of the fuel mix, Davis said.

The trend at MU is reflected across the nation. The U.S Energy Administration in May reported a 15 percent decline in coal-fired generating capacity since 2011 in response to lower natural gas prices and environmental regulations.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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