CHILLICOTHE, Mo.-Chillicothe is using part of a $38,500 state grant to see if it can reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at its electric power plant by adding tire chips to the coal and paper it now burns for fuel, said Ray Blakely, general manager of Chillicothe Municipal Utilities. The experiment also could find a valid use for some of the 5.2 million tires thrown away each year in Missouri.
Mr. Blakely said burning tire chips appeals to him because they produce more energy per pound than coal or paper. That means the utility could burn more paper and less coal.
Chillicothe uses high-sulfur Missouri coal, which produces more of the harmful sulfur dioxide emissions than low-sulfur coal from Western states.
The city wants to demonstrate it can burn a mix of 80 percent coal, 5 percent tires and 15 percent paper. But the actual mix will depend on what's available daily.
The city's boiler will need about 120,000 more waste tires each year than the 30,000 tires Chillicothe residents generate.
The city's test will begin when modifications to the smoke stack at the power plant are completed.
In 1993, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources began awarding grants to businesses and other entities that develop uses for waste tires. The state banned tires from its landfills in 1991.
Nationwide, 11 electric utilities and 22 cement kilns, including kilns in Cape Girardeau and Clarksville, Mo., burn a mix of tire chips and coal. The University of Missouri in Columbia, also plans to use tire chips, said Kate Walker, a planner with DNR's solid waste program.