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Aug 24, 2011
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Baghouse filter construction nears completion target

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University is continuing its quest for cleaner air. The University, a leader in greening education and implementation, is on target to complete construction of a baghouse for the coal-fired boiler plant by the end of September. The baghouse, a pollution control system, will reduce coal emissions and greenhouse gases.
       “It is a filter, and its primary purpose is to reduce particulates from the exhaust that comes off the boilers – all of the coal particles that don’t completely burn up,” said Scott Albert, SRU director of facilities and planning.
       Construction of the $6.3-million baghouse next to Morrow Field House, which was funded with capital improvement money from the commonwealth, began in February. The boiler plant generates steam heat and hot water for campus buildings.
       The baghouse will assure that plant operations meet U.S. Clean Air Act standards and will ultimately save the University up to $750,000 a year, Albert said. Had SRU converted the boiler to a natural gas system,  “It would have cost us much more to run the boiler plant,” Albert said.
         The baghouse includes four modules. Each module contains 182 cloth bags that hang to prevent coal participates from entering the air.
      Albert said the University would use three of the four modules at all times, saving one as a spare in case one malfunctions.
    “By capturing particulates, it does have an indirect impact on emissions,” Albert said. “It definitely reduces the pollution that we would put in the air, and that is better for the environment.”
      SRU’s system includes economizers, making it more efficient. When hot exhaust gas first leaves the boilers, it passes through the economizers before reaching the baghouse. The economizers preheat water going back into the boilers so the system doesn’t use as much coal to keep the water hot, Albert said.
     “It will help to keep our operating costs lower,” he said.
      SRU’s “Reaching for 2025 and Beyond” strategic plan identifies resource management and sustainable design and implementation as institutional priorities. In 2009, SRU President Robert Smith signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment establishing a policy for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce global warning.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.