Fueling the future: Lockheed Martin to heat Owego plant with wood
7/28/2007 (Source: Press and Sun Bulletin)
No. 6 fuel oil's days are numbered at Lockheed Martin in Owego.
The defense contractor plans to replace its current heating system, fueled by the black, syrupy liquid, with a new wood-burning boiler system it will construct on-site to heat all 1.8 million square feet of its main plant in Owego.
Lockheed said the new heating system will help the company increase operational efficiency, cut costs, reduce use of petroleum fossil fuels, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
"It's just an overall example of how we're continuing to invest in our facilities and infrastructure so we can provide customers the best value and innovative solutions they require," said Todd Martin, a spokesman at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration -- Owego.
The project is still in the planning phases, so total cost and investment figures aren't available yet, Martin said. The facility housing the system will total about 10,000 square feet and be located near the company's existing power-generating management facilities, he said.
It's unclear at this time who will supply Lockheed with the wood, sawdust and wood chips it will need to feed the system, Martin said. The amount of wood needed also is undetermined, he said.
The plant's current heating system will remain on-site as a backup, Martin said.
Making the switch in the latter part of 2008 is expected to reduce the Owego plant's annual heating costs by more than 50 percent while decreasing its carbon footprint to "carbon neutral," or a net zero in terms of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, Martin said.
The plant's sulphur dioxide emissions also will decrease from about 98 tons per year to less than 1 ton a year, he said. More specific figures related to the carbon dioxide emissions were not readily available, he said.
As concerns about North America's dependence on foreign oil and rising energy prices continue to increase, the concept of generating renewable energy from biomass, such as wood, is gaining attention, according to Frost & Sullivan, a consulting company with offices around the world.
Biomass can pollute the air when it's burned, though not as much as fossil fuels, the Energy Information Administration said.
Frost & Sullivan added that biomass energy offers many associated environmental benefits that help drive the adoption of these technologies over conventional fossil fuel-fired technologies for energy generation.
Demand and profitability in the industry also have been driven by federal and state incentives, such as subsidies, research grants and government regulations, the consulting company said.
New York, through its Green Power program, has supported efforts to develop renewable energy projects focused on the use of biomass, wind, solar and hydropower to generate electricity.
At Lockheed in Owego, the new heating system is among many initiatives that exemplify the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility, Martin said.
The plant partners with other Binghamton-area companies to regularly hold a PC Take Back Day, encouraging consumers to turn in their computers and related equipment for proper recycling.
The Owego facility also has ISO 14001 certification, used for environmental management, Martin said.
In addition, Lockheed is a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Performance Track program, he said. The program recognizes and drives environmental excellence by encouraging facilities with strong environmental records to go above and beyond their legal requirements, the EPA said.
"It's all consistent with the company's values: doing the right thing, being a good partner in the community, being environmentally responsible," Martin said. "But it's also good business. Our ability to control and reduce costs means that we're going to be able to operate effectively."
Print Article | Back
Home · Capabilities · Leadership · News · Contact Us