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Aquila Expands Waste Tire Burning Program; Nearly Seven Million Tires Used for Power Generation
Kansas City, MO— Aquila is expanding a program that helps rid the Missouri landscape of waste tires by using them to generate electricity at the company’s coal-fired power plants.
The program has been in effect since 1997 at Aquila’s Sibley, Missouri power plant. Aquila has received approval from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for the company’s Lake Road power plant in St. Joseph, Missouri to also begin burning waste tires to generate electricity. The company plans to conduct a waste tire test burn at the Lake Road facility this summer.
Since 1997, Aquila has burned nearly seven million tires to generate electricity at the Sibley power plant. In the last 7 years, the tires burned at Sibley have effectively replaced the equivalent of 112,200 tons of coal that would have been used for power generation. If stacked, these tires would reach a height of 760 miles — twice as high as the orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope, or extend end-to-end 2,600 miles — from New York to Los Angeles.
“Waste tire burning has a number of benefits for Missouri in areas of environmental clean-up, health and energy resource conservation,” said Glenn Keefe, operating vice president for Aquila’s Missouri electric networks.
The MDNR estimates that nearly four million waste tires currently are scattered throughout Missouri. Since the early 1990s, more than 12 million tires have been removed from illegal dumps throughout the state for tire-derived fuel (TDF) use or recycling.
In addition, abandoned tires in vacant lots and streams are a breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread the potentially fatal West Nile virus. Each abandoned tire can produce 10,000 to 1,000,000 mosquitoes during a breeding season. In the past 2 years, Missouri health officials have reported 232 cases of West Nile virus resulting in 15 deaths. Aquila joined with the MDNR and community organizations in 2003 to help raise awareness of the dangers that abandoned tires present in spreading the virus.
Since 1997, Aquila has received waste tires that have been chopped up by independent companies to be used as TDF at its Sibley plant. Since 1997, Sibley has burned nearly 138 million pounds of TDF. A passenger car tire has a heat value equivalent to approximately 20 pounds of coal, making scrap tires a fuel alternative that conserves natural resources. Aquila burns a maximum of 5 percent TDF as a supplement to coal used for the remaining 95 percent of power generation.
The Sibley plant is Aquila’s largest generation facility, with a total generating capacity of 500 megawatts (one megawatt equals one million watts). It is on the Missouri River about 20 miles east of Kansas City. The Lake Road generating facility has a total generating capacity of 257 megawatts. It is on the Missouri River in southwestern St. Joseph.
In Missouri, Aquila serves 282,000 electric and 48,000 natural gas customers. Based in Kansas City, the company provides electricity and natural gas service to 1.3 million customers in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa.