The United States Coast Guard, like
all federal agencies, is under a new mandate from the White House to be more
energy efficient. In that vein, the Coast Guard in Alaska is going to study the
feasibility of using bio-fuels at some of its bases, including here in Kodiak.
Jay Barrett has more:
The sprawling Coast Guard base in
Kodiak - the largest in the nation - needs a lot of energy to make it run.
Lieutenant Roger Mason, the chief of construction and planning, says about
1-million gallons of fuel oil is burned each year just to heat the base
facilities and some of the housing. If another fuel - perhaps a renewable one -
can be utilized, it would go a long way toward cutting costs and reducing the
base's carbon footprint. That's why the Coast Guard is looking at using locally-sourced
woodchips or pellets here in Kodiak, as well as at bases in Ketchikan and
Mason said a feasibility study will
get underway soon.
-- (USCG Wood 1 12 sec "Department
of Energy ... here in Kodiak.")
Robert Deering is the chief of the
Environmental and Engineering Branch with the Coast Guard in Juneau. He said
there are many reasons for considering the change.
-- (USCG Wood 2 42 sec "One
is cost ... to just to chip it up.")
Pumping oil up from underground adds
new carbon to the atmosphere when it's burned, while wood is considered a
carbon-neutral fuel source. Deering also says that wood doesn't have a lot of
the other pollutants common in fuel oil:
-- (USCG Wood 3 28 sec "In
some ways burning ... added to these systems.")
Mason says there would definitely
need to be changes to the base's boiler system, but he says the new burners
might function a lot like wood pellet stoves for the home:
-- USCG Wood 4 29 sec "I
think you could ... existing distribution system.")
Deering says it could still be two
to four years before the bases are ready to start retrofitting their boilers,
if the study shows it's feasible.
With help from Deanna Garrison in
Ketchikan, I'm Jay Barrett.