Alaska, heavily forested, built on rock and surrounded by water, every commodity that enters the country arrives by air and sea. The use of oil is a struggle for both the economy and the environment. Oil must come from elsewhere and be transported but of course by additional fuel, fuel that is subject to oil price stability.
A site that could help giving a solution to the problem is the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan. The site that provides information to more than a million visitors each year is also the site where a pilot biomass system is now coming to life. A two oil-fired boilers serving the 250,000-sq-ft center were replaced with a highly efficient system fueled by local wood was manufactured by Hurst Boiler & welding Company Inc.Another good thing about the project is that the hot-water boiler was custom-designed to fit within very limited indoor space.
To address concerns towards issues related to building space, fuel costs, comfort, reliability, simplicity of operation more especially environmental concerns, the biomass boiler system was developed by Hurst representative Gregory W. Smith of Global Energy Solutions Inc. under the direction of E. Dane Ash, project manager for Tyonek-Alcan Pacific LLC.