EPA Rule Update Provides More Options to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use by Converting Used Ties to Energy as Boiler Fuel

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Used railroad ties are a very efficient source of heat energy for utilities and boiler operators, and the ability to use them for fuel completes the life cycle of the ties. On February 7, 2018 EPA published an amended rule in the Federal Register regarding the use of borate and copper naphthenate treated railroad ties, as boiler fuel, at the end-of-service life.

New preservative technologies are making railroad ties last longer, and on February 7, 2018 EPA published an amended rule in the Federal Register regarding the use of borate and copper naphthenate treated railroad tie end-of-life use. These ties can now be used at the end of their useful life in track as boiler fuel which will help keep them out of landfills. Railroad ties are a very efficient source of heat energy for utilities and boiler operators. The ability to use them for fuel completes the life cycle of the ties and reduces fossil fuel use. In order to maximize the sustainability of ties, it is very important to avoid landfill disposal. Based on extensive work and scientific data studied by EPA, the newly released EPA NHSM Rule (non-hazardous secondary materials) allows the new wood tie technology to be safely used as a renewable energy source and be used as fuel at the end of their service life, which also reduces our fossil fuel use and helps reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Nisus Corporation is pleased that the EPA has issued a final rule which demonstrates that copper naphthenate and copper naphthenate/borate treated railroad ties can be used as valuable fuel at the end of their life cycle, and are as clean as untreated wood when burned. This exemplifies Nisus Corporation’s commitment to the treated wood industry and the railroads’ pursuit of sustainable solutions,” says Kevin L. Kirkland, President/CEO of Nisus Corporation.

Nisus Corporation is the largest manufacturer of sustainable wood preservatives for the wood treatment industry and the largest manufacturer of green pest management products for the professional pest control industry. The company manufacturers copper naphthenate under the QNAP® brand and liquid borate under the Cellu-Treat® brand.

This rule update is an important step toward allowing railways to continue their pursuit of sustainability and is detailed in the attached chart. The ruling will have a positive impact on the future of copper naphthenate and borates as effective, long-term treatments of railroad ties.

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Linde Mills
Nisus Corp
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