Companies are seeking more sustainable solutions for their facilities. In some cases, this change is driven by both philosophical and financial reasons. Various methods of heating, including boilers, provide a way for these companies to make a major reduction to their carbon footprints. One environmentally-oriented company provides a good example.

Tillamook County Creamery Association, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Tillamook, Oregon, has been providing high-quality dairy products for more than a century. Tillamook produces award-winning cheese as well as ice cream, butter, cream cheese spreads, yogurt, and sour cream. As a Certified B Corporation, Tillamook management seeks to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Stewardship has always been a core value of Tillamook, and in recent years, company management strengthened its sustainability commitment in all areas of the business, including the boiler room.

“Cleaver-Brooks has been at the forefront of environmental and energy innovation for more than 40 years,” said Bart Aitken, CEO of Cleaver-Brooks. “Today, large, global companies and others are partnering with us because we have the boiler room knowledge, expertise and solutions to help them meet their short- and long-term sustainability goals.”


Eliminating Need for a Transformer

Prior to 2009, Tillamook operated two 700-hp firetube boilers that burned No. 2 oil. Driven by environmental and other reasons, management wanted to replace its oil-firing boiler with an electric one. The creamery visitors center is locally served by the Tillamook People’s Utility District (PUD), and at the time, PUD’s distribution voltage was 25kV. Cleaver-Brooks is one of the few electrode boiler manufacturers that can accept 25kV without transformation to a lower voltage. Eliminating a transformer of this size substantially reduced the cost of the overall project and simplified the installation.

The boiler model Tillamook selected was a Cleaver-Brooks 5.3MW-25kV. The pre-assembly and wiring done at the factory enabled boiler start-up to be completed in only six days, minimizing onsite work and building costs. According to Tillamook management, the Cleaver-Brooks electric boiler paid for itself in less than two years.

Cleaver-Brooks offers a complete line of pre-engineered, skid-mounted boiler solutions for both hydronic and steam systems that deliver lower total cost of installation and ownership. All of the systems are pre-piped for ease of installation and start-up. “Pre-engineered skid systems save installation time because all the components are delivered at one time, pre-wired and factory-tested,” said Sean Lobdell, vice president of sales for packaged boilers at Cleaver-Brooks. “Otherwise, a facility has to wait for all the boiler equipment to arrive before their mechanical contractor can begin the installation process, which can delay startup for weeks.”


Meeting Goals, Expanding Capacity

For every skid system built, Cleaver-Brooks utilizes 3-D modeling to ensure maximum output from the smallest footprint while maintaining serviceability, optimal performance, and customer satisfaction. In addition, each Cleaver-Brooks boiler is fully tested at the factory to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable operation in the field. All Cleaver-Brooks pre-engineered skid systems include the boiler, feedwater system, and blowdown separator with optional water softener and chemical feed system pumps.

Tillamook has continued to grow steadily with small step-function changes along the way, while honoring an agreement with PUD to limit electric power usage during busy times. To make up for the reduced capacity during these times, the facility runs fossil fuel boilers on propane or diesel. In 2020, Cole Industrial, headquartered in Lynnwood, Washington, expanded the capacity of Tillamook’s boiler system from 5.3 MW of peak power to 6 MW in an effort to shift even more steam production from diesel/propane to electrical energy. This project was driven by a combination of cost savings and decreasing emissions. In addition, since installing the electric boiler, Tillamook has reduced its diesel consumption along with corresponding emissions by 80% overall.

Custom hot water boiler skids are available from Cleaver-Brooks in a wide range of capacities and fuels to meet other system needs. Up to six boilers can be combined in a pre-engineered system, and additional boilers can be added as a custom-engineered solution.