Bowdoin's new steam turbine-generator, installed last summer, is officially up and running. The College finished commissioning and testing the turbine in early February, according to John Simoneau, facilities project manager.
Since February 17, the earliest date for which data is available, the turbine has generated 71,032 kilowatt hours, or 18 percent of the campus' total electricity. The turbine's ability to generate electricity depends upon the amount of steam that the College uses to heat the campus, which varies seasonally. Under maximum steam flow conditions, the turbine can produce 630 kilowatt hours per day.
Simoneau said that as the weather grows colder and there is more demand for steam to heat the campus, the turbine will generate more electricity.
"We expect the turbine to generate 1.7 million kilowatt hours annually or 10 percent of the electricity the campus consumes," wrote Simoneau in an email to the Orient.
The turbine was funded by a $400,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant obtained through the Efficiency Maine Trust in 2010. Part of Bowdoin's long-term goal to be carbon neutral by 2020, the turbine is estimated to reduce the College's indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 700 tons annually.
Facilities Management is engaged in a number of projects to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said Simoneau. The department plans to upgrade lighting and kitchen ventilation equipment, convert buildings from oil to natural gas, and weatherize some of the homes and smaller buildings on campus.