Fuels for Schools
The Fuels For Schools and Beyond Project set out to demonstrate that pellets or chipped wood could more efficiently and economically fire boilers to heat buildings than other means. The cooperative effort that began with successfully initiating a local pilot program has been the major contributor to a national move to use a plentiful economical renewable energy source – waste wood or ‘forest biomass’ – to heat public buildings. The Forest Service enlisted the assistance of the Bitter Root RC&D to find a means to utilize conventionally unmerchantable wood from wildfire hazard reduction forest thinning operations on lands of all ownerships in the Bitterroot Valley–a focal point of fire activity since 2000.
Fuels For Schools and Beyond Program has been an immediate success, arousing nationwide interest. The Darby public schools biomass boiler, with an assist from the Victor public schools biomass boiler, served as the successful natural demonstration for “Fuels For Schools,” leading to the installation of some 30 similar projects from New Mexico to Alaska.
The Bitter Rood RC&D has actively supported the project since 2003. The RC&D left the two schools, Darby and Victor, in a good position to continue demonstrations of use of forest biomass fuels into the future-a role both embraced-the schools and the RC&D by having Messersmith Manufacturing, Inc., the boiler manufacturer, modify the boilers to improve performance and reduce operating costs. This work was completed in early January 2011.
The Fuels For Schools and Beyond Program continues to be a success nationwide. For more information go to http://www.fuelsforschools.info/