The scrap tires burned by Akron Thermal, purchased from an area tire recycler, arrive pre-shredded in
approximately 1-inch-square chips with the bead wire removed.
its operation. This investigation gave the
company the confidence to further pursue the possibility of TDF use.
As a fuel source, TDF is a petroleum
byproduct; it has an energy value nearly
equal to oil, 10 percent higher than coal
and 2. 5 times higher than wood fuel.
TDF helps the environment by reducing
reliance on nonrenewable fuels such as
coal, coke, oil and natural gas. TDF use
helps reduce tire stockpiles that become
breeding grounds for mosquitoes and
other pests. TDF also burns cleaner than
coal, benefiting air quality, and helps
keep tires out of landfills or from being
Tire-derived fuel has an energy
value nearly equal to oil, 10
percent higher than coal and 2. 5
times higher than wood fuel.
illegally dumped. Testing done by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on
air emissions from a variety of facilities –
from industrial and electrical generating
boilers to cement kilns – also showed
that TDF could be burned with traditional fuels without exceeding the regulated
emission rates for these types of facilities.
Despite these positive findings,
Akron Thermal, like many companies,
was reluctant to forego traditional fuels.
Based on its investigation and experience, Akron Thermal determined that
switching from natural gas to waste
wood and TDF would be complicated for
a couple of reasons. It found that extensive testing and monitoring must accompany any changeover to TDF, which could
lead to unanticipated expenses should
A test burn exemption was therefore
submitted to the Ohio EPA so the company could assess whether the air emission
testing would fall within state mandates.
The estimated time to complete this task
was between six and 10 months (actual
time frame was six months). The test
burn indicated TDF was indeed a cleaner
fuel alternative and boasted excellent
operating data that assured success.
Akron Thermal came away from its testing confident that it could successfully
introduce TDF as a supplemental fuel.
Project funding was another issue
for Akron Thermal. Given the ongoing
maintenance of its two power-generating
facilities, the needed capital for the TDF
project was limited at best, despite the
positive financial results of the company’s feasibility study.
A year earlier, however, the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)
Division of Recycling had created a pilot
program to provide seed money to spur
new market development to help alleviate the environmental impact of scrap
tire piles. Knowing about the program,
Akron Thermal approached the local
Summit/Akron Solid Waste Authority, a
quasi-government agency whose primary
function is to manage the solid waste
generation and recycling policies for
Summit County, Ohio. With the agency’s
assistance, Akron Thermal developed a
project narrative to highlight the TDF
retrofit project. This narrative and a preliminary application were submitted to
the ODNR review board for consideration.
These documents provided an overview
of the project to redesign and/or retrofit
existing solid fuel-handling equipment to
accept, transfer and commingle TDF with
waste wood fuel and to deliver the fuel
mixture to both solid fuel boilers.
Because of the project’s scale and the
limited time frame to initiate and complete it – as well as limited grant funds
available for each year – Akron Thermal
decided to divide the project into Phase I
and Phase II. The company applied for
and received two market development
grants: one for the 2002 grant year and, a
year later, one for 2003. The company
estimated that once both projects were
Courtesy Akron Thermal LP. Photo David Rodgers.
Scrap Tire Recycling in Ohio
Ohio is well ahead of other states when it
comes to tire recycling: Around 70 percent of the
state’s scrap tires are recycled, as compared with
26 percent nationally. What accounts for this?
Scrap tires have been banned from disposal in
Ohio landfills for nearly 10 years. Another factor
is a lack of in-state users of tire-derived fuel
Recycled uses include making the tires into
new products like playground and garden mulch
or rubber surfacing for walkways and doormats,
shredding them as a substitute for gravel in landfill drainage systems and mixing with other solid
fuels to produce electricity in industrial boilers
and cement kilns.
For all its recycling success, Ohio still winds
up with more than three million scrap tires illegally
dumped around the state or in tire-only landfills.
To encourage further scrap tire reuse, the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources has created a
Scrap Tire Market Development Grant Program to
help manufacturers and utility companies cover
the startup costs of incorporating TDF in their
operations. Akron Thermal received a grant from
this program, which helped fund its scrap tire test
Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources: