A planned geothermal energy project to replace a 65-year-old power plant at Missouri University of Science and Technology is expected to cut the campus’s carbon dioxide emissions while reducing annual energy and operational costs by up to $2.8 million.
The Missouri S&T geothermal project was among several projects on the four University of Missouri campuses approved for debt financing by the UM Board of Curators Monday, Nov. 22. The university intends to issue the bonds for sale on Dec. 8.
For the Missouri S&T project, the curators approved $32.4 million in revenue bond financing. The project would involve the construction of a geothermal system to replace the heat created by the university’s power plant. The power plant, constructed in 1945, relies on coal and wood chips to provide steam-generated heat to most buildings on campus. Other buildings on campus are served by Rolla Municipal Utilities.
Construction of the geothermal system will take approximately five years to complete. Initially, the system is expected to save $1.4 million in energy and operational costs annually – a savings that is expected to grow to $2.8 million in future years.
The project also is expected to reduce Missouri S&T’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 25,000 tons per year.
The debt financing is for 30 years.
In all, the curators approved $260 million in debt financing for projects on all four UM campuses.
Among the projects not approved at this time was financing for Missouri S&T’s request for $43.2 million to construct a new building for the campus’s chemical and biological engineering department and to upgrade and modernize Shrenk Hall for the chemistry and biological sciences programs. Currently, Shrenk houses all three programs – chemical and biological engineering, chemistry, and biological sciences – but has been a campus priority for improvements in recent years. Missouri S&T has committed to raise nearly $8 million in private funds for that project, which will be given future consideration by the board.