The UMass student chapter of the Society of American Foresters organized a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Friday, 23 October, to tour the Schiller Wood-fired electric power plant, part of the Northern Wood Power Project of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH).

Previously, PSNH's Schiller Station in Portsmouth ran three 50MW coal-fired steam boilers that were built in the 1950s. PSNH has now replaced one of these coal boilers with a new fluidised-bed boiler burning whole-tree wood chips and other clean low-grade wood materials.

The project was one of the largest renewable energy projects in the US, and one of the first to replace fossil fuel generation with an equivalent amount of cleaner electric power. Every year, PSNH used to buy about 400,000t of low-sulphur coal to fuel Schiller Station's three boilers.

The wood fired plant powers around 50,000 New Hampshire homes while reducing coal use by over one third, or 130,000t annually. That will reduce emissions by thousands of tons annually, helping to meet the requirements of the New Hampshire Clean Power Act.

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