Since opening its doors in 1993, the Lied Lodge & Conference Center has been heated and air-conditioned by burning wood chips, a biomass fuel. Examples of other biomass crops include grasses, agricultural products and fast growing trees. Most factories, offices and homes use fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas that take millions of years to form and are nonrenewable, whereas the Lied Lodge & Conference Center uses wood chips made from recycled palettes. In addition to heating and cooling, the energy created is used to heat the pool, dry the laundry and provide hot water.
In the fall of 2015 continuing into the spring of 2016, the original absorbers which have met their life expectancies are being replaced with a new 230 ton absorption chiller, cooling tower and a 230 ton free cool heat exchanger. With the addition of the free cool heat exchanger the Lied Lodge & Conference Center will add an additional method to produce chilled water without the use of any type of fuels and minimal amounts of electricity.
How Our Fuelwood Energy Plant Operates
- Wood chips arrive by truck and are stored in the hopper.
- Chips are carried to the boilers by a system of augers.
- Chips are ignited and burned in the firebox, heating water in the boilers and producing high pressure steam.
- Cyclone precipitators remove particulates so emissions are clean.
- Ash produced in the combustion process is removed and composted or used as soil supplement or to make light-weight concrete.
- Gasses, mostly water vapor and C02, are emitted through the chimney.
- A recirculating system of cooling water runs between the water chiller and the outside cooling tower, taking up heat in the chiller and giving it off through evaporation in the cooling tower.
- Heat from steam is used in an evaporation/absorption chiller to produce cold water for use in building air conditioners.
- 45 degree chilled water is piped to air conditioning unites in the Lied Lodge & Conference Center to provide cooling in the summer, returning to the chiller at a temperature of 55 degrees.
- Steam is piped to the Lied Lodge & Conference Center to produce hot water and provide room heat. After giving up heat, returning condensate is recycled to the boilers.