Galena Biomass Boiler and District Heating System

Coffman provided multidiscipline engineering and construction management services to replace a campus district heating loop for Galena Interior Learning Academy, a residential vocational school located in Galena, Alaska. The project included 15 buildings and incorporates a biomass boiler into the central heating plant. Coffman worked closely with the client and stakeholders to develop a contracting strategy to secure financing and meet the expedited execution timeframe.

The project included the installation of a new 5 million BTU/HR biomass boiler, wood chip storage, and auger-type chip feed system into an existing facility, conversion of the existing steam boilers to hydronic, and all piping, structural modifications, electrical, controls required to maintain reliable heat where it is critical in interior Alaska where temperatures can drop below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam distribution system was replaced with 6,200 linear feet of hydronic piping significantly increasing overall efficiency. Three thousand feet of water main serving both domestic and fire suppression systems were replaced to abandon the existing utilidor. Direct buried piping was used where needed and above-grade piping where possible to meet budget requirements. To the extent possible, the domestic water main was integrated into the heating system ‘arctic pipe’ to reduce the risk of freezing.

Coffman successfully executed the project within the allotted timeframe, including design, RFP development and bidding support, and construction administration services. Coffman also assisted with the startup and tuning over the first year of operation to achieve maximum efficiency.


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  • Alternative Energy
  • Civil Engineering
  • Corrosion Control Engineering
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Project Management