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New legislation passed by United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 requires fossil-fuel fired electric generation units to limit the amount of toxic emissions releases by combustion. Two most important measures, known as Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, will effect roughly 1,100 coal-fired electric generation units. These facilities are forced to decide between investing in scrubbing technology to reduce their emission rates and retiring. The number of facilities retiring is unknown but many predictions expect severe electric generation capacity reductions in regions that rely heavily on coal-fired generation. The amount of planned electric capacity additions at this juncture do appear to be enough to replace the minimum projections of coal-fired capacity lost while also sustaining the steadily yearly growth of electric capacity that has occurred every year to meet increasing electricity consumption in the United States. In this study, the emergence of cleaner burning tire-derived fuels was examined as an alternative fuel source to help combat this loss in electric capacity. Tires produce almost the same energy as petroleum and approximately produces 25% more energy than coal. The pollutants emitted from the combustion of coal versus the combustion of scrap tires, and their environmental impacts are assessed. An actual power plant retiring in 2015 in central Ohio near both tire collection and tire shredding facilities was considered as a case study to test the feasibility of tire-derived electricity generation to replace the coal-fired capacity. In addition, the electricity generated from different grades of coal compared to rubber tires are examined.

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Jun-Ki Choi

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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


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