No problems with biomass
Your Feb. 1 article on Goddard College’s to-be-constructed biomass plant focuses attention on a technical question about emissions from the plant. My firm is the college’s contracted project manager for the campus biomass system. I have spent the last 27 years of my career working in this field in Vermont, including ongoing work to improve the environmental performance of projects like Goddard’s.
Vermont has over 40 public schools with wood chip systems, all very similar to Goddard’s — some smaller, some larger. Thirty percent of Vermont schoolchildren attend these schools. Every day over the last two decades thousands of students, teachers, staff and parents go through the doors of these schools. During this time I have heard of no complaints by neighbors or parents, no related health problems, no air permit issues, no problems related to emissions. None.
Goddard’s wood chip system will be just like the school systems, with one difference. Goddard will have a state-of-the-art emissions control system (called an electrostatic precipitator, or ESP) that delivers greatly reduced emissions of particulate matter (PM) compared with other ways to burn wood, such as home woodstoves. The Goddard board of trustees decided to voluntarily spend $130,000 for the ESP system so that they could have the lowest possible PM emissions, out of concern for air quality, for the campus community and for the Plainfield neighbors.
Vermont has a strong tradition of using our local resources to heat homes in a sustainable way. Goddard’s biomass plant is an extension of our heritage and roots.
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