Facilities » Biomass Boiler Information

Biomass Boiler Information

As early as 2009 the Penns Valley Area School District began considering the installation of an alternate heat source to reduce expenditures and the District’s carbon footprint.  After the removal of the coal boilers in the 1990s and until December 2011, the Penns Valley Area School District used oil as its sole heat source for its high school. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, oil is a nonrenewable fossil fuel with air emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and mercury compounds.  The District researched renewable energy sources and considered biomass, geothermal, and solar energy. Ultimately the District decided to select a biomass system because of lower installation cost, local fuel availability/flexibility, efficiency and environmental impact.

Environmental Results

The District has completed its air quality permit testing requirements and meets or exceeds government standards. The results of the Penns Valley test can be found in the table below:


PV Biomass1

DEP Limits

Total Particulate Matter

0.103 lb/mmbtu

0.20 lb/mmbtu

Nitrogen Dioxide (NOX)

0.209 lb/mmbtu

0.25 lb/mmbtu

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

0.110 lb/mmbtu

0.16 lb/mmbtu


1 Source Data Penns Valley Air Quality Test Results


Economic Results


Over three years the savings to the district as a result of the biomass boiler operation versus oil and electric usage adds up to nearly $460,000.  In the table below, the annual savings are represented by the different patterned areas and the stacked columns represents the total cumulative savings net of all operational costs.


Annual and Cumulative Savings


There is no means of providing heat that is 100% environmentally neutral. The district will continue to look for ways to be environmentally conscious while also being fiscally responsible. For more information visit the files contained in this section of the website.