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Hampton/NASA Steam Plant: Clean, Green, and Powering Olympic Research

COMMUNITY CENTERaskHRgreen CommunityRecycling & ReusingAug 3, 2012Brianna Venner

Author: Brianna Venner

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a major case of Olympic fever.  Watching Michael Phelps swim the other day got me thinking about the Hampton/NASA Steam Plant.  Why, do you ask?  You may also be saying, “Hampton has a steam plant?”  In 2008, NASA designed Phelps’ swimsuit using wind tunnel research powered by the steam plant.  In fact, since 1980, more than two million tons of Hampton’s trash has been landfill-diverted, burned in boilers and converted into steam energy used by NASA.

Recently, the Hampton/NASA Steam Plant won a US Department of Energy 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management Award.  Plant manager John MacDonald said in a press release, “The ash that results is chemically inert, creates no landfill gases and uses about one-tenth the landfill space as its original form…The steam produced by the plant is cheaper and cleaner than natural gas.”  In fact, the process works so well that NASA is committed to using even more steam energy and reducing the use of Langley’s fossil fuel-powered plant.

This unique partnership on NASA Langley property but run by the City of Hampton is one of only a few steam plants in the country and a point of pride for the City of Hampton Public Works Department.  You can learn more about the NASA/Langley Steam Plant during the Hampton & You series which begins September 13 and is now open for registration.  Tour the plant during the Tour de Trash November 15, 2012 coordinated by the Hampton Clean City Commission.  Call 727-8311 for information on either of these events.