Coast Guard looking at heating with wood in Alaska

From The Associated Press, Thursday, October 28, 2009:

The Coast Guard’s plan to move away from oil-fired burners and toward heating with biomass could provide a lift to the timber industry in Southeast Alaska.

Projects are being considered in Ketchikan and Sitka that would convert building heating systems to biomass boilers that burn wood chips. That would provide a local market for processed wood made from Tongass National Forest timber.

Robert Deering, with the Coast Guard’s Civil Engineering Unit in Juneau, said Southeast Alaska is the first place the Coast Guard has considered using biomass energy. Last year’s spike in oil prices partially drove the decision to support it, he said, but a new directive from President Barack Obama revived the project. Obama signed an executive order this month that mandates environmentally friendlier federal buildings.

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