Saint John's University Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

The Saint John's University Plant in Queens, NY, is classified as a combined heat and power plant because it is capable of producing heat as well as electricity. In a cogeneration facility such as the St. John's plant, the steam from the boiler system is used for heating and cooling the campus.[1]

Coal Source

According to the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University website: "Although coal is the dirtiest of the three fuels, it saves the University over one million dollars a year in fuel costs. The coal is purchased from Decker, Montana, and contains .5% Sulfur. Because the Power plant has limited pollution control systems, it purchases about 17,000 tons of low sulfur coal at a higher cost per ton ($47.69/ton) compared to higher sulfur coals. The moisture content of the coal is 24-25% but varies because the coal pile sits outside uncovered so the rain and snow is sometimes brought into the stoker as well."[1]

Stoker/Boiler Systems

The actual coal combustion system employed at the plant is a 1952 overthrow stoker boiler system. According to the University website: "There are three coal fired stoker steam boilers. The boilers are 70% efficient. Maximum steaming capacity of boiler # 4 which was installed in 1959 is 33,000lbs. of steam per hour; boilers # 1 & # 2 were installed in 1947 and have a maximum output of 12,000 lbs steam per hour respectively. In addition to the three coal fired boilers, which are used most of the time, there are three natural gas/fuel oil boilers. Boiler #3 was installed in 1947 it is a converted coal burner which now runs off of natural gas and has a maximum output of 9,000 lbs/hr. Boiler #5 was installed in 1973 and has a capacity of 45,000 lbs/hr. Boiler 6 was installed in 1999 and can produce 60,000 lb/hr. The three natural gas boilers are not used often because of the current cost of natural gas."[1]

Pollution Controls

There is a limited amount of pollution control at the current facility: one cyclone dust collection unit on boiler #4, but emissions from boilers #1 and #2 are not regulated. There are plans to install some type of technology to reduce emissions, in line with the EPA's Maximum Achievable Control Technology provision. A three million dollar capital project has been proposed for 2006 which covers the installation of a wet scrubber, which will remove pollutants by using a caustic slurry spray.[1]

Electricity Use

At St. John's University the power plant produces about 25% of the campus's electricity usage, with the remaining 75% purchased from Xcel Energy. The coal for the power plant cost approximately $800,000 but this total does not reflect the true cost of electricity generation at the plant because a majority of the energy from the coal is used for heating and cooling.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "SJU Power Facility Overview" College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University Website, accessed December 2009

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