Jackson Laboratory breaks ground on highly efficient biomass energy plant

Date: November 22, 2010
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Bar Harbor, Maine -- The Jackson Laboratory has broken ground on a new energy plant, which will be the first of its kind in the U.S. It will use the most efficient technology to combust sustainably harvested wood pellets instead of fossil fuels.

According to John Fitzpatrick, Jackson Laboratory senior director for facilities services, the installation offers economic and environmental benefits for the entire state of Maine, not just The Jackson Laboratory. "The new biomass boiler will reduce the Laboratory's number-two fuel oil consumption by 75 percent--about 1.2 million gallons per year--replacing this foreign-sourced heating fuel with Maine grown, Maine harvested, Maine processed, and Maine delivered renewable wood product."

Fitzpatrick adds that the conversion to sustainably grown and harvested wood fuels will result in the reduction of at least 13,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide and the elimination of 29 tons per year of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere and environment. "Being located on such a special place as Mount Desert Island, and specifically bordering one of Maine's treasures, Acadia National Park, we take our roles as temporary stewards of The Jackson Laboratory's facilities and the surrounding environment to heart," he says.

The Swedish-based company Petrokraft developed the "Powder Energy System" technology, which efficiently combusts wood powder and can be retrofitted to existing large oil-fired boilers. The Jackson Laboratory installation will be the largest application of its kind in the U.S.

In January, the Laboratory received a $1 million grant through Efficiency Maine, to help pay for the $4.4 million energy-efficient heating conversion. The installation by Pizzagalli Construction is scheduled to be complete in spring 2011.

The Jackson Laboratory is a nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.

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Download a 300 dpi image of the groundbreaking event (1.2Mb)

Read a fact sheet about the installation (728Kb PDF)

Contact(s): Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058

For information on automatic email delivery of news releases (journalists only), please send an email request for details to news@jax.org. Please address other inquiries to pubinfo@jax.org.

Media Relations, Communications Office
The Jackson Laboratory
600 Main Street
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609-1500
Phone: 207-288-6058 (journalists only)
Main Jackson Laboratory phone: 207-288-6000
Fax: 207-288-6076
Email: news@jax.org