MU Power Plant History Timeline
- 1880s Campus Enrollment: 484
- MU on Jan. 10 hosts the first display of incandescent lighting west of the Mississippi River. A 20,000-watt Edison Dynamo that Thomas Edison provided to engineering professor Benjamin Franklin Thomas was set up in the basement of Academic Hall, the first building constructed on the University of Missouri campus.
- Thomas' experiments with the Edison dynamo spark the establishment of MU's Department of Electrical Engineering, the second such department in the nation.
- Academic Hall was "lighted by electric light, and warmed by steam with the Heine boilers and Bundy radiators," according to an 1888 journal entry.
- 1890s Campus Enrollment: 428
- An electric overload on Jan. 9 causes a fire that burns Academic Hall to the ground. What appeared to be a tragedy, however, turned out to have a bright side as the fire generated tremendous interest in MU. Money collected from state funds, insurance and donations from Boone county residents allowed for construction of six new buildings around the Columns, forming Francis Quadrangle.
- New "power house" constructed on southwest corner of Francis Quadrangle, where Hill Hall now stands.
- 1900s Campus Enrollment: 1,038Building Space: 558,568 GSF
- Dairy Power House constructed.
- Five campus buildings — Dairy Building, Medical Building, Horticulture, Engineering Laboratory and Read Hall — are completely wired for electricity.
- Water plant constructed.
- Mechanical Engineering professor Arthur M. Green is placed in charge of the power house's Light and Heat Station. Green brought electricity to the entire campus while increasing the size and capability of the power plant.
- 1920s Campus Enrollment: 3,260Building Space: 1.3 million GSF
- MU Board of Curators approves a $150,000 budget for a larger, up-to-date power plant. The foundation was laid at the northwest corner of Fifth Street and Maple Street, now known as Stewart Road.
- New power plant begins producing steam and electricity on Jan. 4 with four boilers and two steam turbines. The boilers could produce 100,000 pounds of steam per hour (pph) and the turbines had an electric production capacity of 900 kW.
- 1930s Campus Enrollment: 3,986Building Space: 1.65 million GSF
- Upgrades to MU's utility capacity include two deep wells, one rated at 600 gallons/minute (gpm) with a 445,000 gallon reservoir and one rated at 800 gpm with a 280,000 gallon reservoir; Boiler #5, rated at 300psi and 50,000 pph; and Steam Turbine Generator #3, rated at 750kW.
- 1940s Campus Enrollment: 5,670Building Space: 2.1 million GSF
- Diesel building added to house two 500kW diesel generators.
- Boiler #6 installed, rated at 300 psi and 75,000 pph.
- Warehouse constructed on Stewart Road.
- 1950s Campus Enrollment: 8,756Building Space: 2.8 million GSF
- Power plant is expanded to house two chain-grate stoker boilers, each rated at 300 psi and 75,000 pph, and two used Westinghouse steam turbine generators (#4 and #5), rated at 1,500kW, purchased from the Missouri State Penitentiary.
- The South Well, rated at 750 gpm with a 560,000 gallon reservior, is placed into service.
- 1960s Campus Enrollment: 11,216Building Space: 4.1 million GSF
- New 6,000 kW Westinghouse Steam Turbine Generator #6 is installed; turbine generators #1 and #2 are removed.
- The Power Plant is enlarged to house Riley spreader-stoker boiler #9, rated at 400 psi and 125,000 pph.
- The Southwest Well, rated at 1,100 gpm with a 1 million gallon reservoir, is placed into service.
- 1970s Campus Enrollment: 21,687Building Space: 6.6 million GSF
- Power Plant upgrades include a Dresser-Rand Turbodyne Steam Turbine-Generator #7, rated at 12,500 kW and a Riley stoker boiler #10, rated at 400 psi and 200,000 pph.
- 1980s Campus Enrollment: 24,297Building Space: 7.6 million GSF
- Construction begins on two 325-foot concrete stacks and two baghouses for boilers #7, #8, #9 and #10.
- Central control room is built. Pneumatic instrument and control system is replaced with digital electronics.
- General electric Turbine Generator #8 is placed into service.
- 1990s Campus Enrollment: 24,972Building Space: 9.2 million GSF
- The North Well, a deep well for potable water, is placed into service with a pumping capacity of 1,000 gpm and a 230,000 gallon reservoir.
- Tire-derived fuel (TDF) is successfuly burned in boilers #7 and #8.
- Boiler #12, a 220,000 pph gas/oil boiler, is added to the Power Plant.
- MU wins the Green Lights University Partner of the Year award for progress in upgrading lighting and promoting energy efficiency. Through 1996, savings from Green Lights retrofits totaled $800,000.
- A new full-capacity, 40MW, 69kV inter-tie is installed, connecting the Power Plant's' utility lines with the City of Columbia's.
- MU is selected from among 1,400 participants for the first USEPA's and U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star Buildings Partner of the Year Award, an honor for excellence in using energy more efficiently, saving money and improving the environment.
- 2000s Campus Enrollment: 23,280Building Space: 11.9 million GSF
- MU, for the second time, receives the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award.
- Power Plant Capacity Addition completed. The addition houses two gas turbines and two chillers in a building constructed north of the existing plant.
- MU receives the U.S. EPA Combined Heat and Power Partnership Certificate of Recognition. This award recognized the superior environmental performance of our new CHP power plant.
- Energy Management receives the IDEA System of the year award.
- Power Plant partners with Agriculture Engineering to test the burning capability of corn cobs.
- Power Plant partners with Agriculture Engineering to test the burning capability of switch grass and waste wood chips.
- Energy Management was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation with the Energy Efficiency award following the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) national competition, Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming.
- Power Plant receives EPA Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award, making it one of only three universities in the nation recently recognized with the honor
- Began construction on bio-mass boiler.
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An early mishap?
Old Power House
1904 Campus Plan
MU in 1910
Power Plant under construction
Power Plant in 1923
Steam Turbine Generator #3
Diesel Building addition
Power Plant Warehouse
Boilers #7 & #8
Turbines #4 & #5
Steam Turbine Generator #6
Steam Turbine Generator #7
Turbine Generator #8
Fluidized bed boiler
1995 Power Plant renovation
Green Lights Award
Energy Star Buildings
1998 Governor's Awards
Energy Star Partner
2002 Power Plant addition
2004 IDEA award
Biomass for fuel
Photos courtesy U.S. National Park Service/Edison National Historic Site; UM Digital Library/Boone County Historical Society/Westhoff Collection; and University Archives.