State News

UNC chancellor: School will end its coal use

Posted May 4, 2010

— The chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Tuesday that the school will end its use of coal-generated power in the next decade.

Chancellor Holden Thorp made the announcement after recommendations he received last week from a task force studying energy issues.

The task force was formed in January to help the university create a plan to reduce its carbon footprint. Among the group's recommendations is the elimination of the use of coal by May 2020.

For more than a century, coal has been used at UNC's power plants. In February, students protested the school's coal-based power plant despite the cogeneration facility being recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its performance.

"We are in an unusual position because our cogeneration plant has a useful life of another 30 to 40 years," he said. "It's not going to be easy to make this transition. We have challenges in making sure biomass will work in our existing boilers and challenges on the supply side as well. But we are confident we can achieve our goal in 10 years."

As part of its plan to end coal use, the cogeneration facility will test co-firing coal with biomass in the form of dried wood pellets later this spring and torrefied wood – a product similar to charcoal – this fall or winter. The university hopes to replace 20 percent of its coal with biomass no later than 2015.


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  • geosol May 5, 2010

    "twoods7, you are right. The enviro people at UNC wanted an end to coal, now that they have had their way, they will have to pay for it too." mjeffrey

    Oh, too bad, but the EPA announced proposed new regulations on coal ash that effectively makes it a hazardous waste with a huge increase in handling and disposal costs. So the decision by UNC was very prudent in order to save our money in the long run. But thanks once again for playing the home version of "Show Us Your Ignorance".

  • mjeffrey May 4, 2010

    lancer, pedal power may work for the campus gyms, a fair number of fitness clubs have generator bikes that help power the places. It would not really work much elsewhere, so there does need to be an alternative for days when their is no sun and no wind; nat. gas perhaps?

  • mjeffrey May 4, 2010

    twoods7, you are right. The enviro people at UNC wanted an end to coal, now that they have had their way, they will have to pay for it too.

  • Luv2Camp May 4, 2010

    Why not sell the plant and make some money that can help with the state's budget crisis?

  • tatermommy52 May 4, 2010

    Real liberals would be protesting in Raleigh and being jailed while railing against the current scandals.

  • tatermommy52 May 4, 2010

    Where is the outrage on the UNC campus in regards to the Democrats scandals in Raleigh. You are not real liberals in C-Hill, you are just urban sophmoric politicians.

  • twoods7 May 4, 2010

    Ok kiddies, get ready for a tuition hike; somebody's got to pay for the conversion from coal...

  • lancer May 4, 2010

    "Expect anything less from a bunch of ignorant right winged racist bigoted rednecks?"
    signed Balog

    Uhm..... I happen to an advanced engineering degree with a minor in information storage technologies.
    So I guess that makes me a bigoted, racist, redneck.
    I guess I am.

    Pray describe to me exactly what type of "cleaner, more sustainable energy sources" is being considered that will function in the dark, on days the wind doesn't blow, that doesn't cost $5,000 per brake horse horsepower?
    oh, you can't, sorry......
    I guess you will need one of those pedal-power generators so you can watch your TV. Hope you don't need commercial methods for heat in the winter, or lights. And wood is not a commercial source. I cut & burned wood for years. Not really practical for a dorm is it.

    Once again: When the AWG/Greens/etc ad naseum crew can find and commercialize a high efficiency, low cost, clean power source, I'll gladly partake. But that is not even close on the horizon yet.

  • dahman May 4, 2010

    hey unc peeps....

    when you transition from coal to the "whatever is next fuel" dont come knocking on my door for $$$ to make the change or for the higher fuel cost.

    realize........these decisions are not make in a vacuum.

  • affirmativediversity May 4, 2010

    "It's truly amazing ... You people are as disgusting as you are ignorant."

    Expect anything less from a bunch of ignorant right winged racist bigoted rednecks? per balog


    You "expect" our money to pay for it!