Millinocket hospital saving money with new biomass boiler, using pellets made in Maine

March 7th, 2013 in News, News Archive
By Nick Sambides Jr.,
Bangor Daily News

Wood pellets made in Maine will replace at least 60,000 gallons of No. 2 heating oil annually thanks to a new $478,000 biomass heating system installed at Millinocket Regional Hospital, officials said Thursday.

Half funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the pellet burner is expected to save $135,000 annually over 10 years while handling the hospital’s heat and hot-water needs.

“It does that easily. We have burned hardly any fuel since startup on Dec. 7,” said Dale McLaughlin, director of plant operations at MRH.

The Schmid Energy Solutions burner installation occurred over three months at what is for now the tail end of $3.1 million in hospital infrastructure improvements, hospital CEO Marie Vienneau said.

The burner is only the second of its kind in Maine, she said.

Millinocket Regional is believed to be the second hospital to convert to biomass heating, said Becky Schnur, director of communications at the Maine Hospital Association.

Northern Maine Medical Center of Fort Kent finished its conversion to a biomass boiler in mid-February, said Schnur, who cautioned that her organization does not track hospital alternative-energy conversions.

MRH’s infrastructure improvements included upgrades to the plumbing, heating and electrical wiring systems in the building. They are part of $12 million to $13 million in total improvements originally proposed in the hospital’s master plan in 2009, Vienneau said.

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