Wood Pellet-Fired Biomass Boiler Project at the Ketchikan Federal Building

Gregg Tomberlin

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Biomass boiler systems have existed for many years, but the technology has advanced in recent decades and can now provide automated and efficient operation for a relatively modest investment. Key advances in system monitoring and control allow for lower operating costs, since the control systems run all aspects of the boiler, including feed, load reduction and even tube cleaning. These advances have made such systems economical on a small scale in situations where inexpensive fuels like natural gas are not available. This creates an opportunity for building operators in remote, cold-climate locations to reduce the use of expensive fuels for heating buildings. GSA Region 10 installed the system at the federal building in Ketchikan, Alaska and submitted the project to the Green Proving Ground (GPG) program. GSA's GPG program contracted with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to assess the installation and the technology. The system serves as a demonstration to assess actual system efficiencies, as well as operating characteristics and financial benefits. In addition to installation and operational issues, the project team/researchers examined other issues, including fuel transportation costs, building energy savings, and overall economics.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Prepared for the General Services Administration by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-61426


  • biomass boiler system
  • General Services Administration (GSA)
  • GSA
  • Ketchikan Federal Building


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