The pilot program began about one month ago following 18 months of extensive study by DaimlerChrysler, AmerenUE, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the St. Louis County Health Department and other state and local agencies.
The paint solids are left over from the automobile manufacturing process, according to DaimlerChrysler.
Before the pilot program, the solids from DaimlerChrysler's Fenton, MO, plant were being placed in a landfill. Over the life of the pilot program, 1,000 tons of the material will be blended with coal and burned in the plant's boilers to generate electricity.
"This unique program is a good partnership between AmerenUE and one of our largest industrial customers," says Meramec Plant Manager Ozzie Lomax. "It will help both companies improve the environment and recover potential energy that would otherwise be sitting in a landfill."
"An average customer uses about 12,000 kilowatthours of electricity each year," said Lomax. "Using that figure, we estimate the paint solids will produce enough energy to power about 70 homes annually\-replacing about 570 tons of coal."
According to DaimlerChrysler, upon successful completion of the Meramec pilot project, it may look into starting similar programs at the company's other manufacturing facilities.
"We are always looking for ways to add value for our major industrial customers," says Tom Thompson, the Ameren Key Account Executive who started working with DaimlerChrysler two years ago to develop the program. "DaimlerChrysler should be commended for the innovative thinking they've shown in working with us to put this pilot project together."
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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