BYU-Idaho Replaces Coal Boilers and Gains Independence from Grid

Today, Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho) has more than 40 buildings around campus with a total of about 3 million sq. ft. of conditioned building space. In the early 2000s, the university remodeled its central heating facility, installing a natural gas-fired boiler and removing the smallest coal-fired boiler. A decade later, university administration wanted to do more improvements. Specifically, their goals were to (1) become more energy efficient, (2) eliminate dependence on coal, and (3) reduce emissions.


BYU-Idaho has experienced interruptions in its power supply from the local grid during times of severe weather when demand was most critical. In addition, BYU-Idaho had learned from the local power company that the university's electric costs were projected to nearly double within 10 years. As a result, Cleaver-Brooks wanted to convince the university to pursue independence from the electrical grid.


Cleaver-Brooks recommended the university install two 45,000 lb/hr O-type watertube boilers with 30 ppm NOx burners, a 25,000 lb/hr CBEX firetube boiler as well as a 50,000 lb/hr Max-Fire Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG).  Cleaver-Brooks also custom-designed a stainless steel stack, which had to be 80-ft. tall for dispersion of emissions since the university is close to Yellowstone Park.


Replacing the old coal boilers with natural gas ones increased boiler efficiency by about 10% and decreased operational costs by 17%. Adding electric generation to the campus has made power more reliable. The university is now self-sustaining during severe weather or any interruption in power. 

"We liked the water wall with welded tubes rather than the refractory. It was a big selling point for us on Cleaver-Brooks. There is only a small amount of refractory on the two ends of the steam and mud drums"

Sam Merrick, HVAC Services, Facilities Management, BYU-Idaho

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