Energy & Climate: Environmental Sustainability 

  • To save money and be more considerate of the environment, the ISU power plant added natural gas to its fuel portfolio, resulting in 60% gas and 40% coal feedstock.
  • The $42 million conversion project, completed in 2016, resulted in the reduction of total emissions by 80% and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.
  • About 7% of total campus energy comes from electricity generated through contracted wind energy in partnership with the City of Ames.
  • One of the technologies incorporated at the power plant in 1891 and still in use is the process of “cogeneration,” the process of using a single fuel source to simultaneously produce both thermal energy (in the form of steam and chilled water) and electricity at the same time, sometimes called Combined Heat and Power, toward increased efficiency.
  • Two of the power plant's boilers, called circulating fluidized bed boilers, were installed in 1988 and burn limestone with the coal. The limestone reacts with the sulfur in the coal to remove more than 90% of the sulfur from emission gases. The lower combustion temperature in these boilers also minimizes the emissions of nitrogen oxides. Plans are in place to convert the boilers to natural gas by 2025, totally discontinuing the use of coal within the power plant.
  • Utility Services has agreed to purchase 37.5% of the electricity produced at the new City of Ames solar garden, becoming operational in 2021.
  • Initiated in 2020, electricity purchased from the Midwest electricity grid is sourced from renewable electricity providers using renewable energy credits.