Beyond Coal

An initiative that ended the combustion of coal on campus in 2010...

Historically, Cornell burned approximately 63,000 tons of coal per year to produce steam to heat campus facilities. On January 15th, 2010 Cornell University announced that on-site combustion of coal at the central heating plant would be eliminated by mid-2011.

On March 21, 2011, Central Energy Plant employees scooped and shoveled the very last loads of coal from the outdoor storage site and into the plant, marking the success of the university’s “Beyond Coal” initiative. Additionally, in 2011 coal consumption associated with purchased electricity will drop to 2,500 tons – a reduction of 80%.

The key component to eliminating on-site coal combustion is Cornell’s new Combined Heat and Power Plant, which came on-line in 2010. Total CO2 emissions associated with on-site combustion and purchased electricity will be reduced by a total of approximately 75,000 tons by 2012. This amount represents over 20% of the Ithaca Campus greenhouse gas footprint. The beyond coal initiative and CHP Plant have been key components of Cornell’s Climate Action Plan.