Campus News

UGA develops plan to install new electrode boiler

Athens, Ga. – The Facilities Management Division at the University of Georgia has developed a plan to replace the aging coal-fired boiler on campus with a more efficient electrode boiler powered by electricity.

This proposal comes after the Facilities Management Division initiated a comprehensive examination to identify options to replace the university’s single coal-fired boiler, which is nearing 50 years in age. The private consulting firm Jacobs Engineering was contracted to lead the study. The firm delivered results from its investigation this summer, concluding an electrode boiler was the most economical solution for UGA.

The electrode boiler is projected to save the university more than $19 million over a 30-year span compared with continued use of the coal-fired boiler.

“I am grateful to the many individuals at UGA who worked with Jacobs Engineering to find the optimal solution to replace our current boiler,” said Ryan Nesbit, vice president for finance and administration. “The proposed electrode boiler would generate savings that can be invested to enhance the university’s teaching, research and service activities. I am also pleased the proposal would reduce our overall energy consumption on campus.”

Initially, Jacobs was exploring the possibility of a combined heat and power system but determined that no financial benefit to the university would result from adopting this solution. The electrode boiler is powered by electricity and generates steam in a more cost-efficient manner than the coal-fired boiler. The total cost of the replacement project is estimated at $4.5 million.

Pending approval by the Board of Regents, UGA would work in close partnership with Georgia Power to install the new boiler. Georgia Power would provide support in constructing the electrical connection from the substation on East Campus to the Central Steam Plant for this boiler.

“We are pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with the University of Georgia in developing and deploying reliable, efficient and cost-effective energy solutions,” said Lenn Chandler, northeast region vice president for Georgia Power.

“I commend the Facilities Management Division for thoroughly researching the options and developing a plan that will improve our energy efficiency and provide us with cost savings to benefit the campus,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are grateful to our partners at Georgia Power for working closely with us on this proposed project.”

Under the proposal, the new system would be installed and functional by November 2015. The existing coal boiler would be operated through this winter and shut down in February 2015.