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EBC NH Chapter Event: Tour of PSNH’s Northern Wood Power Project

November 15, 2006 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am

How will The Northern Wood Power Project generate electricity?
PSNH’s Schiller Station in Portsmouth originally operated three 50-megawatt coal-fired steam boilers built in the 1950s. PSNH replaced one of these coal boilers with a new fluidized-bed boiler. This state-of-the-art boiler will burn whole-tree wood chips and other clean low-grade wood materials to generate electricity.

How much electricity will The Northern Wood Power Project generate?
Prior to the conversion, Schiller Station produced about 150 megawatts of electricity (about 13 percent of PSNH’s total power output). The new wood-fired boiler generates one-third of this, or 50 megawatts – enough to power approximately 50,000 New Hampshire homes.

Is PSNH using new generation technology for this project?
Yes, PSNH uses a highly efficient fluidized-bed boiler for the project. This type of boiler, although not new, has benefited from advances in generation technology.

How does the fluidized-bed boiler work?
Unlike typical “stoker grate” boilers where wood chips are simply burned as they pass along a rolling grate, the fluidized-bed boiler circulates the wood chips and burns them while they are suspended in air within the combustion chamber. This process burns fuel more completely, dramatically limits the production of nitrogen oxides and other emissions, and captures any unburned carbon compounds for further combustion. The new boiler system more efficiently converts water to superheated, high-pressure steam, which in turn spins the turbines to generate electricity.