Malmstrom's heat plant fights off the cold

  • Published
  • By Chris Willis
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
There is one building on base that keeps us warm during the cold Montana winters. Burning 154.7 million cubic feet of natural gas and 800 tons of coal, the heat plant provides essential heating to 70 infrastructures on base.

"If the plant fails, those 70 buildings will freeze, costing millions to repair," said Joseph Beard, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron Heat Plant foreman.

Manned by 14 civilians, the dual-fuel plant uses natural gas as it's primary source of fuel and stoker coal as it's secondary.

The plant operates from October to June, providing high temperature water to the base and performs maintenance overhaul in the summer months. During winter operations, the plant is manned 24/7 with two system trained technicians on hand at all times.

According to Beard the plant is like an artery, pumping out 330 degree, 300 pounds per square inch of pressure water daily.

The plant also has a reputation of being reliable, having kept the base infrastructures warm for almost 30 years.

"In the 20 years I have worked at the plant, we have never failed to provide heat to those 70 buildings," said Beard. "All the credit should go to those 14 hardworking employees."