University of Montana breaks ground on new combined heat and power plant

Skylar Rispens

The University of Montana broke ground Tuesday on a new combined heat and power facility that is expected to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20%.

The Missoula flagship isn’t starting from scratch, however. The project is largely a renovation, which will include a new addition to the current steam plant’s east side.

“Everyone might be questioning, what’s the big deal about a power plant? And I’m going to tell you this is incredibly exciting, this is the type of project that is what they call a double bottom line,” UM President Seth Bodnar said.

“This is a project through which we will significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that this university generates at the same time we will generate significant savings for this university.”

The current steam plant burns natural gas to boil water, which creates the steam that is used to heat campus. Through the new combined heat and power technology, the plant will use natural gas to create electricity through two turbines. The waste heat from that process will be used to boil water to create steam to heat campus.

The new heat and power plant will burn less fuel than is now burned at

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