Kaiser Electric has completed the first phase of a $4-million project to upgrade the power plant at the University of Missouri – Columbia (MU). The project includes construction of a new truck unloading facility, five storage silos and a conveyor system, plus, replacement of an existing coal boiler with an environmentally friendly biomass unit.

Kaiser Electric is providing all of the electrical, lighting, control, and instrumentation wiring on the project. Kaiser’s crews arrived on the job site in mid-October and were asked to complete wiring of the unloading facility and parallel conveyor system by mid-December before the winter set in. Kaiser was able to complete the fast-tracked, Phase One with 30 electricians working two shifts, six days a week.
“There have been multiple engineering changes during the original durations that made the scheduling of activities and the managing of man-power and material difficult to keep the project on time and efficient,” said Jason Russell, VP of Kaiser’s Central Missouri division handling the project.

Phase One included wiring of three under-silo coal and biomass conveyors which travel from the fuel receiving area to the bucket elevators. Each conveyor stretches approximately 250 feet in length. The two over-bunker coal and biomass conveyors wired by Kaiser are approximately 200 feet long and the bucket elevators are approximately 80 feet tall. Working at dangerous heights, Kaiser’s crew worked off scaffolding and were tied-off with safety harnesses to ensure safety while working.
“Most importantly, Kaiser completed this intense schedule for Phase 1 with no injuries or lost time,” added Kaiser Electric President Steve Giacin.

Phase Two will include construction and wiring of the 110-foot-high silos, which are expected to be completed in March, with completion of the new biomass boiler scheduled for early spring.

The new boiler, which will be retrofitted with the university’s existing heating duct system, is expected to produce 150,000 pounds of steam per hour, increasing the power plant’s steam output by 30,000 pounds per hour. The new biomass boiler is also expected to use an estimated 100,000 tons of biomass each year from various sources throughout Missouri, which includes chipped hardwoods and local wood waste. The new unit is also expected to produce lower sulfur emission levels and smaller amounts of ash than the coal boiler it is replacing.

The University of Missouri’s power plant supplies energy and heating and cooling for buildings totaling more than 13 million square feet, including three hospitals, a research reactor and several research facilities.

The general contractor on the project is McCarthy Construction of St. Louis, Mo. Sega Engineering and Technical Services of Overland Park, Kan., is the project engineer.