Aquila’s tire-derived fuel project helps communities fight spread of West Nile virus

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 16, 2003 — Aquila Inc. has joined forces with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and community organizations to support an effort designed to fight the outbreak of West Nile virus in Kansas City, Mo.

The program’s objective is to rid the city of abandoned tires in vacant lots and streams, which serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread the deadly disease.

The program, sponsored by the MDNR, rewards service clubs and community groups with “contribution” dollars in exchange for tires collected during organized clean-up efforts. The tire sites targeted for cleanup contain less than 500 tires, making it more economic to award contribution dollars to community clean-up groups than to hire contractors. Following the clean-up effort, the tires are disposed of at pre-arranged collection sites and sent for processing by independent companies. After being chopped into small pieces, the once unsightly tires can be used as fuel to generate power.

Aquila’s generating station in Sibley, Mo., has been using scrapped tires, known as Tire-Derived Fuel (TDF), in its boilers for more than five years. In an average year, Aquila burns the equivalent of more than 1 million passenger car tires, or about half the number of tires sold in the Kansas City area. A passenger car tire has a heat value equivalent to approximately 20 pounds of coal, making scrap tires a fuel alternative that conserves natural resources.

“Our primary goal in participating in this combined effort with the state and local groups is to do all we can to help our communities become a safer and more environmentally pleasant place to live,” said Jim Brook, Aquila vice president of International Regulation and Environment.

While it would be simpler and as economical for Aquila to use only blended coal in its generating boilers, it is able to substitute TDF for up to five percent of its fuel.

“We view this program as an effective way for communities to remove unwanted tires from the environment,” said Brook. “Since scrapped tires do not decompose, this is an innovative and cost-effective way to address both an eyesore and health issue.” Organized cleanups under way in the Kansas City area will continue through most of the year. More information about organizing a clean-up project and the reimbursement process can be found on the MDNR’s website at, or organizations may contact the MDNR’s Byron Murray or Dan Fester at 573/751-4465.

Based in Kansas City, Mo., Aquila operates electricity and natural gas distribution networks serving customers in seven states and in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The company also owns and operates power generation assets. More information is available at

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