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Re: conversion of disposed tires into energy
Here in California, there have been major protests about proposals to
burn tires in cement kilns, and a lot of debate about a tire-fueled
power plant. Protesters have raised environmental issues that include
emissions of persistent, bioaccumulative toxic pollutants, creation of
hazardous ash, and safety of storage piles. Protesters have greatly
resented the comparison of emissions to emissions from an uncontrolled
fire at an illegal disposal site (even though such a fire occurred in
California). Instead, protesters have pushed alternative uses for waste
tires (both those currently generated and those in illegal stockpiles).
This makes me caution those considering use of tires as a fuel
source--it may require a very difficult permitting process.
There are many beneficial re-uses of tires. The use with the most
promise to take care of waste tires is rubberized asphalt, which (after
some initial mis-steps) has been perfected into a pavement suitable for
highways or side streets, and which provides a substantial noise
reduction over regular asphalt (I know of two California communities
that demanded rubberized asphalt for this reason). I have seen data
that suggest that all waste tires generated in the U.S. could easily be
re-used each year in rubberized asphalt.
> Several pulp and paper companies in the US are burning tire derived fuels
> (TDF) with bark and/or coal or oil in their boilers (some cogen facilities
> are doing the same in their coal-fired boilers). There are also a couple
> of EPA reports on the subject. Tires burning uncontrolled in a landfill
> (or serving as breeding grounds for mosquitoes) has a much worse effect on
> the environment than companies burning TDF in their boilers as a
> supplemental fuel. Generally the air pollution issues are an increase
> particulate emissions when a scrubber is the control device and a potential
> increase in SO2 emissions (depending on baseline fuel) when an ESP is the
> control device. CO actually goes down because the TDF burns very hot.
> Test data have shown that burning TDF in a boiler with an ESP produces
> emissions that are very similar to coal burning emissions.
> One EPA reference available on the web: "Air Emissions from Scrap Tire
> Combustion," EPA-600/R-97-115, October 1997.
> Amy Marshall
> URS Corporation
> Raleigh, NC
> (919) 850-9511