Carbon in the form of coal or coke is currently added to the conventional steel melting process now in use. 'The fuel heating value of tires is considerably higher than that of coal or coke,' Stebbing says. 'Tires can replace this energy on a pound-for-pound basis. Coal-burning power plants are using tires for energy with no adverse effect on emissions to the environment. In many cases the emissions are actually improved.'
A passenger tire has a fuel value of about 300,000 Btu, the equivalent of 87 kilowatts of electrical energy, or two and one half gallons of petroleum oil, the engineer says. Those energy units can replace or supplement the coal or electrical power. Unlike some other process that find the steel belts to be a nuisance when trying to use the tires as fuel, they provide additional metallic value to the scrap in steel manufacturing.
Sources of used tires, such as tire dealers or auto salvage yards, pay a disposal fee to dispose of their tires. The typical fee is $2 for a passenger-car tire and $5 for a truck tire, Stebbing says. Steel mills could receive part of that fee for the tires they accept. While conserving the replaced energy for other uses 'Landfills are overflowing with tires, and it is getting hard to dispose of them,' Stebbing says. 'There are perhaps three billion scrap tires in piles in the United States alone; about 250 million are added each year.' A very large percentage of used tires are now shredded and buried. This energy is not only being squandered but new energy must be provided from other sources.
The US steel industry can make a substantial improvement in the environment while making a substantial improvement to the economics of steel making by substituting or supplementing coal with scrap tires. It is a very easy process to implement or even try on an exploratory basis. We are ready and willing to work with forward-looking steel producers who are interested in exploring this exciting new technology.
Stebbing Engineering provides licensing and technical assistance for this patented process. Very little, if any, capital investment is needed to implement this easy to use and efficient improvement in steel making.