Abbott Power Plant Stack to be Dismantled

Apr 04, 2017
Ahead of Gas Boiler Upgrades

April 4, 2017

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Abbott Power Plant’s 77-year-old south stack will be taken down in much the same way it went up, one piece at a time. Crews will begin preparations to disassemble the 197-foot concrete stack this week, with work anticipated for completion during the summer.

Abbott is replacing the recently decommissioned stack and two 1970s boilers with two new low-emission, high-efficiency Babcock & Wilcox gas boilers. The new boilers, which utilize shorter stacks, will be operational by December. Steam and electricity production service to campus buildings and plant access for educational tours and research will remain uninterrupted during the work.

Director of Utilities Production Mike Larson said, “This is a significant step in a five-year project to increase steam production capacity, improve plant reliability and energy-efficiency, and further reduce emissions. We’re committed to energizing the university’s future by providing best-in-class utility services focused on the highest levels of safety, environmental compliance, and reliability.”

Specially trained, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified crews from Omega Demolition, a sub-contractor of project coordinator Barton Malow Company, will dismantle the stack by constructing climbing work platforms, moving the structures down as work progresses.

Removal and containment of peeling exterior paint will occur first, followed by the use of hammers to break the stack into small sections. Crews will strictly mitigate any dust created during the project and deliver the materials to an approved disposal site. Affiliated Engineers Inc. is the project engineer firm, and Environmental Design International is the environmental consultant.

The south stack has a base diameter of 15 feet, tapering to 9 feet at the top. The north stack, used by other existing boilers, will be unaffected by the project.


Originally built in 1941, Abbott Power Plant supplies 88 percent of the energy demand for the Urbana campus. More than 250 campus buildings use the steam produced at Abbott for heating. The cogeneration facility simultaneously produces both steam and electricity for the campus with a focus on safe, environmentally compliant, reliable, and cost-effective operations. 

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Images of Abbott and the stack for download and use are available at: