TAMC Introduced a new fuel source to its facility today and became the first in the state, and only second in the nation, to convert its heating and cooling from fuel oil to compressed natural gas (CNG).

Joined by the Easton Middle/High School Band, Loring Color Gaurd, TAMC staff and others, TAMC turned the valve on their new CNG facility today. I caught up with Sylvia Getman, TAMC President and CEO, and Gene Lynch, vice chair, TAMC Board of Trustees, and asked them about the conversion project.

TAMC started this project last fall on the south end of the hospital property in an area that used to be a parking lot. Local contractor Soderberg Construction of Caribou prepared the site for the decompression station, where trailers filled with CNG connect to provide the fule necessary to heat and cool the hospital.

TAMC also teamed up with Mechanical Services, Inc., which has four locations in Maine, including Presque Isle, and New England-based XNG (Xpress Natural Gas) to develop specific details for the conversion. Mechanical Services introduced the concept of CNG to TAMC, and provided the expertise for the boiler house piping and burner conversion.

TAMC first had to seek state approval for the conversion and had support from the Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) who formed a Natural Gas Working Group to help get over the hurdles and rules implementation with the State of Maine. APP worked with state and local officials who delt with the Maine PUC, Fuels Board and Fire Marshall to finalize the Natural Gas operating parameters and eliminate the permitting obstacles.

The cost for this type of conversion was in the ballpark of $300,000 and a return on their investment is expected in less than a year.