The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will end its use of coal in the next decade, Chancellor Holden Thorp says.

In making the announcement in May, Thorp accepted the recommendation made by an energy task force he appointed to study energy issues on campus.

"Universities must lead the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy," says Thorp. "Today, Carolina takes another big step in that direction. Carolina is proud to be a national leader in sustainability in American higher education. Our systems for energy efficiency, cogeneration of electricity and steam, waste recycling, green building, mass transit and water conservation are models."

As a step toward ending coal use, the university’s cogeneration facility will test co-firing coal with biomass in the form of dried wood pellets later this spring and torrefied wood – a product similar to charcoal – this fall or winter. The university plans to replace 20 percent of its coal with biomass no later than 2015, and perhaps by 2012.