The Rock Island Arsenal announced a $22.4 million deal with Honeywell recently, to replace its 101-year-old coal-fired central steam plant in Illinois with natural gas boilers throughout the island. The conversion is expected to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The steam plant, built in 1914 and modified over the years, will be replaced with high-efficiency boilers in 30 buildings on the island. The conversion is likely to be completed in the fall of 2016 and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20,800 metric tons per year, or equivalent to removing 4,500 cars from the road, Army and company officials say.
Lower energy and water usage
The old power plant will eventually be demolished, according to the Army. Arsenal and Honeywell say that when combined with a similar project initiated last year at the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center on the island, energy use will be cut by 35 percent, and water use will be reduced by 30 percent.
The conversion is likely to help exceed the of a 2012 Environmental Protection Agency rule reduction of coal use or installation of pollution control equipment at plants that burn fossil fuels. The Army-Honeywell partnership, called an Energy Savings Performance Contract, is authorized by Congress and pairs the government with energy service companies that design efficiency plans and then guarantee savings.
The projects do not use government money, and savings, after the expiration of the contract, revert to the government. In this case, the contract is for 15 years. The changes are expected to save $1.7 million per year, said Jay Richter, the energy for the garrison’s public works department. The annual savings at the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center were projected to be $5.3 million.