No more coal for US university CHP plant

A US university has pledged to stop burning coal at its combined heat and power (CHP) plant by 2020.

The plant (pictured) at Indiana’s Notre Dame university currently supplies half of the campus’s power needs, as well as steam for heating, hot water and air conditioning. Its coal use has already been cut from 85% in 2005 to 15%, reducing emissions by 40%. The university said in a statement that natural gas currently makes up 85% of the plant’s fuel supply.

In line with its climate goals, the university said it will expand its gas-fired power generation over the coming five years, as well as investing in $113 million worth of renewable power projects for the longer term, including hydropower, solar and geothermal plants on- and off-campus.  

The Reverend John Jenkins, president of the Catholic university, announced this week that the new policy is a response to Pope Francis’s June encyclical on climate change. The announcement came the day before the Pope’s visit to the US.

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