Duke University West Campus Steam Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Located off Coal Pile Drive, Duke University's West Campus Steam Plant burns 54,000 tons of coal annually from mines in West Virgina and Kentucky. The plant also burns oil and natural gas. The plant was built in 1929 and produces 1.3 billion pounds of steam per year. The plant has three boilers and is equipped with baghouses that reduce soot and ash by 97.3 percent, according to officials. According to school officials, Duke will spend $4.5 million to add “lime scrubbers” to the system that will remove gases and heavy metals. These improvements keep the plant in or ahead of environmental compliance requirements. The plant produces 8,000 tons of ash per year.[1] In 2008, Duke approved a $20 million revovation of the East Campus Steam Plant, was built in 1929 and closed in 1978. When that renovation is completed, the East Campus Steam Plant will produce steam with natural gas, and the West Campus Steam Plant will reduce its coal use by 70 percent.[2][3] According to Tavey Capps, the University's environmental sustainability coordinator, Duke intends to stop burning coal altogether in the next five to ten years, "depending on the economic environment."[4]



  1. "The Last Rail Car," Duke Today, 2/23/09
  2. "Steam Plant Renovation, Other Projects Approved," Duke University office of communications website, May 10, 2008
  3. "The Last Rail Car," Duke Today, 2/23/09
  4. "Duke aims to cut coal use by 70%," Duke Chronicle, April 7, 2009.

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