Back in November, it was reported that the Lafarge plant in Brookfield, Nova Scotia, had applied for a permit for a one-year trial burn of tires. The plant had previously attempted to burn tires back in 2007, but was denied for a permit at that time. Lafarge is making the case for burning tires as a low-carbon alternative fuel, intending to substitute tires for coal firing. Now, a group of citizens is challenging in court the underpinnings of the plan, and a judge will decide later this month on whether the plan can move forward.
While much of the public opposition appears to be focused on “science to support it”, mid-kiln tire firing has been used in the global cement industry extensively for more than 30 years, and was recognized by the United States EPA back in 2000 as a NOx-control strategy. While a number of opponents to industrial tire firing refer to products of combustion in tire fires in open landfills, cement kiln systems offer a controlled high-temperature environment in which fuel combustion can be well managed, and in which the byproducts of tires (iron scrap from steel belts) can be used as a valuable part of the raw feed to the system.