2005-2006: In collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, this student team designed strategies to improve the power generation system of Roberts Brothers Lumber Company in Ashfield MA, reducing its environmental impact and enabling the company to remain in compliance with state regulations. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approached the Roberts Brothers Lumber Company after determining it was not in state compliance due to an oversized, un-permitted Caterpillar D398 diesel generator. Modifying the company’s generation system was essential for the company to continue its operation.
The team analyzed a number of solutions according to two categories: modifying the company’s current generation system, or replacing it with a new system. Based on feasibility, cost, effectiveness, and environmental impact, the team’s suggestions included using alternative fuels, installing an after-treatment that reduced emissions, installing a new generator, or some combination of the above. The Roberts Brothers Lumber Company will use the team’s analysis in making decisions about future changes. The student team hopes that some of the design recommendations will not only benefit similar small-scale lumber companies, but also have a regional impact for other geographically isolated facilities that use older generators to create their own electricity.