Black Smoke Cloud at Stevens Institute

1/8/2010:

Many Hoboken residents emailed 411 asking about a fire call at Stevens Institute earlier this week…

Just an oil furnace switchover!

The Hoboken Fire Department received several calls about a plume of black smoke that was lingering around the Stevens Institute Campus, and naturally it didn’t turn out to be a fire. So what was that smoke? I talked to a couple of engineers at Stevens yesterday and they gave me the scoop…

Did you know that the heat and hot water at Stevens can be supplied both by gas and oil? While they primarily use gas most of the year, there are instances (such as when prices change) where they switch over to oil. In this particular circumstance, PSE&G actually contacted Stevens and asked them to switch to oil because of the heavy demand for gas during cold spells such as the one we’re currently experiencing.

Additionally, remember that pump replacement operation from last year?

Well, the engineers told me that they also switched from Number 6 oil (heavy fuel) to Number 2 – and the system required some calibration and adjustment – hence the reason for the clouds of smoke while they tweaked the settings. Read more about fuel oil types here.

All in all – nothing to worry about whatsoever!

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13 Comments on "Black Smoke Cloud at Stevens Institute"

9
Member

I think it means that they put the Deltas on double secret probation.

Ken Lay
Member

I thought the black smoke was a signal that the Board of Trustees had begun its secret discussions to select a new president.

homeworld
Member

Haha, I really thought the “black smoke” headline was figurative.

In response to Ken Lay who said:
I thought the black smoke was a signal that the Board of Trustees had begun its secret discussions to select a new president.

elainetyger
Member
elainetyger

It’s not exactly a voluntary switch, if PSE&G’s rate structure is like Con Edison’s. There is a special discounted gas rate for large commercial customers who agree in advance to switch to oil immediately upon request during periods of very high demand. If they fail to switch, they pay a very high rate for the use during that time. I used to work for the state regulators in NY and we would get complaints every winter from customers who got those bills and would claim either that the clock on the gas meter was not operating properly or that the utility didn’t make the proper attempt to let them know that the switchover period was coming.

If the gas company showed up for a routine surprise inspection and they didn’t have enough just-in-case oil on hand, the customer would also get penalized then.

MidnightRacer
Member

Fire Departments train in reading the color of smoke, watch video:

(video embedded by admin)

truth1
Member
truth1

Thanks Midnight and 411 for this education on smoke and fuels. Your are providing a very valuable service to our community.

In response to MidnightRacer who said:
Fire Departments train in reading the color of smoke, watch video:

(video embedded by admin)

DEADMAU5
Member
DEADMAU5

Stoners

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