Cornell University’s central energy plant at its Ithaca, New York campus has burned the last coal to create electricity and heat for the campus, reports the Cornell Daily Sun. The Ithaca campus is now coal-free, in favour of natural gas being used in the CHP plant, following the success of the university’s ‘Moving Beyond Coal’ initiative.
In the autumn of 2009, Cornell launched the Climate Action Plan, a set of 19 initiatives that are currently being implemented to achieve net-zero emissions rates at the university by 2050.
‘Moving Beyond Coal’ was introduced to dramatically reduce the university’s carbon footprint – the largest single contributor was the emissions from burning coal.
According to Cornell’s Sustainable Campus website
, on-site combustion of coal represented 56% of the 320,000 tonnes of its greenhouse gas footprint in 2008.
Since the CHP plant, which was recently awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star award, began operating in January 2010, coal use dropped from 60,000 tonnes to 6000 tonnes a year, before it was phased out entirely.