Scrap tires to become new energy source

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In 90 degree heat, Robert Gullett over at Charlie’s Tires in Ironton has a tough summer job, loading up hundreds of scrap tires.

“You don’t know what’s in the water, mosquitoes everything, they’ll burn you up,” Gullet said. “You have to watch what you do with them. Some people throw them in the creek. Don’t get caught it’s bad news.”

Solid waste coordinators still get overwhelmed with illegally dumped tires by the thousands, but see a new hope on the horizon.

“I think It’s fantastic, I hope it goes quick, this would be a huge answer, not just to my prayers, but state wide,” said Dan Palmer.

Actually, region wide.

That’s where Lawrence County, Ohio developer Ralph Kline said Forward Energy’s proposed tire conversion plant, with a building all ready on the Dow Chemical plant site, will use new technology to convert mass amounts of tires into useable products, and do it cleanly.

“It’s all enclosed technology, no air emissions, and the energy they create is recycled and used again and again,” Kline said.

The company hopes to turn two million tires a year into renewable energy sources, into crude oil, and into carbon black, and ink for your printer.

Kline hopes to soon secure a $400,000 grant to supplement the $1.5 million in start up costs, 18 good paying jobs just to start, with tires coming in on trucks, trains, barges- locally and regionally.

“That’s awesome,” Gullet said. “You have to do something with these. They are everywhere. All over the place.

Soon, the tires will be in a new place, with plenty of tread for the future.

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