About Tire To Fuel

Joseph T. Birch V was educated at Harvard University, majoring in Social Relations/Psychology until leaving to manage The Bicycle Revival, a thriving recycled bicycle parts business he launched from a Cambridge garage in 1965. Under his leadership, the enterprise expanded to 17 stores spanning from Florida to New Hampshire. Seven years later, Birch sold the business to the Italian racing bicycle company Portofino International and purchased a farm with 200 acres of timberland in Lyndeborough, New Hampshire.
Joe Birch in 2010 doing maintainance work on his equipment with his boys Joe and Sam
In New Hampshire, Birch founded a commercial sawmill and pallet shop, managing as many as six logging crews and a half dozen Caterpillar 518 skidders at a time. At the same time, he owned and operated several sand and gravel operations in NH and MA. At peak, his logging operations cut millions of board feet of timber and he also produced or brokered up to 50,000 cords of long-length firewood annually. Birch employed over 50 people, and his logging company became the country’s largest firewood dealer. Such a brisk volume garnered him the title “The Emperor of Firewood.”
Photo of Joe excerpted from article written about Joe's Logging Operation
Throughout his logging career, Birch maintained a conscientious regimen of prudent timber management practices. In some ecologically sensitive timberland, Birch logged with horses that frequently stood 21 hands high and weighed over a ton. Horse logging does not punish the land and the immature tree growth as huge logging skidders and whole tree processors do. One of the biggest horse logging jobs he did was in Marquette, Michigan, in an ecologically sensitive area adjacent to a river which salmon used as a breeding ground. With three teams of Percheron and Belgian horses, he and his horse loggers selectively cut 600 acres.
Birch’s success in land development, sand and gravel, firewood sales and horse-logging, captured the imagination of local newspapers, magazines, and television programs. Media interest included an eight-minute feature on The Today Show hosted by Mike Barnicle and Tom Brokaw.
From the late 60’s through the 90’s, while his logging business flourished, Birch was also involved with numerous land development projects. In 1996, Birch turned to residential land development full time. Birch developed numerous properties in his career including a 53-lot subdivision which some consider the most beautiful housing development in Hollis, New Hampshire. As the housing market crashed in 2007 and 2008, Birch and his two sons, Joseph and Samuel, returned to logging and firewood sales. They also constructed nine units of apartment housing, mostly from lumber produced on their sawmill. In addition, they concentrated on what until then had been only a side project – a technology for converting solid waste and biomass into profitable energy.
Houses constructed on Birch's 53 lot Hollis Subdivision
Birch and his sons investigated numerous strategies for recycling waste products and biomass into profitable fuel products. In one avenue of research, they converted wood fiber into activated carbon which is ideal for purifying air and water. Birch consulted with former MIT Professor Thomas Reed, a leading expert in alternative fuel research, now retired and living in Western Massachusetts. Under the tutelage of Dr. Reed, Birch developed viable waste-to-energy technologies and immersed himself in the literature of “green” chemistry, mechanical engineering, and the history of various technologies for biomass and waste conversion.
Targeting used tires as the most viable and profitable waste product, Birch and his sons built four separate experimental conversion plants and a small-scale refinery. The fuel oil they produced was tested at Clean Burn Energy Systems laboratory in Northfield, Massachusetts with better-than-expected results. Birch’s fuel oil burned cleanly with no visible stack emissions and slightly higher BTUs than #2 heating fuel. Clean Burn was impressed enough to agree to undertake, at their expense, additional testing for EPA certification, which is upcoming at the firm’s Pennsylvania headquarters.
Birch and his sons maintain a variety of light and heavy construction and excavation equipment. But perhaps more importantly, they possess the experience and the drive to move forward on a proposed 120-ton-per-day tire-to-fuel plant, the next phase in their ongoing waste-to-energy initiatives.
Thanks for visiting our site, and we look forward to keeping you up to date on this exciting project!
JOE BIRCH - December 2010

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