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      Old tires: A new source of fuel?

      The days of landfills piled high with used tires may soon be over.

      Keary Ecklund, owner of Keweenaw Scrap Tire and Metal, says industrial companies are starting to burn shredded tires in place of fossil fuels, like coal. And that will help him create 33 new jobs next month at his Painesdale scrap yard.

      How? By grinding the tires up into two inch squares for burning.

      "It's basically a coal replacement," said Ecklund. "Tire Derived Fuel burns at 15,000 BTUs; coal burns at approximately 12,000 BTUs.

      Ecklund has spent the past two years setting up the tire shredding business, which also accepts scrap metals. This month he started shredding tires, roughly 15,000 a day.

      Once a truck is filled, and that takes about five hours, the shredded tire is hauled to New Page in Escanaba, where they burn 90 ton a day. And Ecklund says L'Anse Warden Power is working on licensing their facilities to burn tire shred. They plan to burn 30 ton a day.

      In turn he gets an average $50 per ton for the tire shred. Ecklund says tire shred burns cleaner than coal.

      "They generally mix it with a wood chip," Ecklund said. "It's called biomass. So, it's using the condensed petroleum in a tire."

      The scrap yard will run two shifts, shredding 20 hours a day. In the spring, when schools think about playgrounds, they'll shred sidewalls, which are metal free, to be put down like wood chips. It sells for roughly $300 a ton.

      EPA Tire Derived Fuel Fact Sheet 2005