- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa officials are ready to begin planning a steam production plant on the west side of the school’s campus.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1Eg99KW ) reports that officials have asked the Iowa state Board of Regents for permission to begin planning the $75 million production plant that will be adjacent to the school’s new backup power facility.

University interim senior vice president Rod Lehnertz says that construction will likely take two years, and that the facility should be operational in four years.

“It’s a 100-year view of utility support for the campus,” he said.

The plant would be fueled by natural gas, but the site would have the option to use biofuels.

“It’s about keeping the options open, Lehnertz said. “Natural gas is a good product. It’s one we use at the main plant. But we are expanding opportunities to increase biofuels on campus. The location for the new plant affords us not only the most effective way to save costs, it also gives us options should the price of one fuel source begin to skyrocket.”

Officials estimate that the proposed facility initially will be capable of delivering 150,000 pounds per hour of steam, and could be expanded up to 300,000 pounds per hour.

The regents will discuss the proposal during the board’s March 11 meeting in Iowa City.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

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