Wood-fired hospital boilers replace coal

September 13, 2023
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South Invercargill residents can breathe a little easier, with Southland Hospital’s massive boilers now fired by wood pellets instead of coal. The conversion took effect in September. The hospital’s two 4.5 megawatt boilers run 24 hours and 365 days a year, providing steam which circulates around the hospital site, providing heating and sterilisation of equipment.

EECA [Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority] said the replacement of a coal-fired boiler with a wood pellet-fired boiler would reduce its overall emissions by up to 99 per cent.“The combined emissions reduction of the Southland Hospital project is expected to be 5217 tonnes of CO2 each year, which is the equivalent to removing about 2146 cars off the road.”

Great South strategic projects manager Steve Canny welcomed the burning of wood pellets instead of coal to fire the hospital’s boilers, both from a decarbonisation and community health perspective. Coal emissions generated from the hospital boilers had an impact on community health, Canny said.

“Any form of particulates from coal-fired combustion into a residential community has an effect on air quality, which in turn has an effect on people’s health. Having coal out of the system, and wood biomass used, will improve air quality in the south Invercargill area,” he said.

Great South has been advocating for decarbonisation in the region, with Canny saying about 90 boilers in Southland had been converted to low emission alternatives. The owners of the remaining 100 boilers were planning to do likewise, he said.

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Source: Stuff