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INTERVIEW - UK firm plans to cook old tyres into electricity

INTERVIEW - UK firm plans to cook old tyres into electricity
LONDON - Not content with burning straw and chicken litter to produce electricity a small British power producer now wants to use old car tyres to light homes. Bristol-based Energy Power Resources hopes to start building a 32 million pound power station capable of turning tyres into electricity before the end of the year, chief executive David Williams told Reuters yesterday. The plant could be generating electricity in 2002. "We have the final credit approval from the bank and are looking to start building the plant before the end of the year," he said. The plant, which will be able to turn 65,000 old tyres into 15.5 megawatts of electricity every year, is to be sited in south Staffordshire, central England. If all goes to plan redundant tyres could be getting a second lease of life in two years, the time it is estimated it will take to build the plant. "The only hold up is whether the electricity produced will be considered green by the government," Williams said. He said the process was the most environmentally-friendly means of disposing of old tyres. "The tyres are not burnt they are cooked - it is pyrolysis (a chemical change brought about by heat). As the tyres cook they give off a hydrocarbon gas, which is like natural gas which is then burnt," said Williams. No toxic fumes are emitted and the remains of the consumed tyres are additionally recycled. "This is a much better way of handling redundant tyres than burying them (landfill)," he said. Aside from its tyre plans, Energy Power Resources recently started producing electricity at the worlds largest straw-fired power station in Cambridgeshire and at a chicken droppings-powered station in Scotland. The 60 million pound straw-fired plant will consume 205,000 tonnes of straw a year and produce 38 megawatts of power while the droppings-powered plant, which cost 22 million pounds, will produce 10 megawatts a year. Story by Matthew Jones REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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