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Proposed tire-to-energy plant brings new tech and jobs to Meadville

An Erie firm has shifted its sights to Crawford County to build a plant that will convert used tires into renewable energy. Erie Renewable Energy  has proposed a low-emissions process for a Meadville Power Station that could generate 90 megawatts of electricity when it comes online in 2012. “It would be only the eight plant in the world to use the high-tech design and would emit considerably less pollution that the others in its class," says company president Greg Rubino. The plant would add 60 jobs to the local economy when it comes online. Construction will require 200 workers.

Developing uses for recycled waste tires is an alternative to landfill disposal, a persistent national and local problem. The state Department of Environmental Protection estimates that Pennsylvania generates approximately 12 million waste tires annually.  Erie Renewable Energy’s process uses circulating, fluidized bed (CFB) technology to convert tire-derived fuel into a combustible compound that can be fired in a boiler to produce steam.  Steam turbines will generate power to be fed into the existing electric grid. An air scrubber controls emissions.

Rubino had originally expected to build his plant in the Erie area, but rail access to that site posed a problem. The 80-acre Meadville location will allow the firm to process 20 rail cars of old tires onsite daily.
“It will look and operate very much the same as Erie,” says Rubino. "The difference is, this is so big. We’re going to be able to process the tires into small pieces, take the metal beads out, then use the CBD process to produce energy, all onsite.” ERE will submit a new air-quality plan to DEP and hopes to begin construction in October.

Source: Greg Rubino

Writer: Chris O’Toole

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