University Power Plant

UI Main Energy Plant



Why does the university need steam?

Steam is an essential energy source for the University. Campus buildings and the UI Hospitals and Clinics use steam year around for heating, production of chilled water, cooking, hot water, humidification and sterilization, as well as energizing research and process equipment.


Does the university use solar power?

The University completed the solar e-car charging station in 2011. Located near the University Services Building and the Madison Street Services Building, the charging station provides spaces for approximately 20 electric vehicles.

The University recognizes the benefits of solar power and is investigating ways to integrate some into the university's renewable energy strategies. However, switching to solar power is costly and would not provide the reliabillity or the steam that the University of Iowa would need.

Every campus building rooftop could be filled with solar panels, and that would account for around 10% of the energy that the university would need.


Does the university use wind power?

The University in collaboration with the College of Engineering installed a 2.4KW wind turbine in front of the Madison Street Services Building in 2010. The turbine is intended as a teaching tool, but the power it generates is used on campus.

However, the University does not have the land in order to build the turbines that would be needed to power the university.The university could take down all of the buildings on campus and put up as many wind turbines as possible and that would only account for around 12% of the energy that the university would need.


Has the university considered using all natural gas energy?

To provide the high reliability, the UI cannot 'put all of our eggs in one basket.' The diversification of fuel sources provides reliability in the event that any fuel source is not available.


Does the university use hydropower?

The University does not use hydropower. Across the river from the main Power Plant is the hydraulics lab which provides education and research for the University of Iowa College of Engeneering.


How many trucks of each fuel arrive each day?

10-15 trucks of solid fuel arrive daily Monday through Friday. 4-8 trucks of oat hulls arrive daily.