Six cement plants received special recognition for their commitment to improving the environment and their communities at the Tenth Annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards, presented by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Cement Americas magazine at PCA’s Spring Meeting in Chicago, April 18, 2011.
The awards honor individual cement facilities that exemplify the spirit of continuous environmental improvement and support this spirit with action. These plants went beyond government regulations and local laws to ensure that their processes and policies contributed to making their communities better places to live and work.
“Although it is one of the most highly regulated industry sectors in the United States, cement companies are consistently challenging manufacturing policies and procedures to improve energy efficiency and other environmental factors. This means not just producing a high quality product, but making the plant’s local communities quality places to live and work,” said Brian McCarthy, PCA president and CEO. “We take our environmental stewardship seriously and have a long history of investing in continuous improvements that are win-win for both the environment and our communities.”
Six categories recognized plants throughout the United States (listed by category, company and plant location):
Overall Environmental Excellence: Lafarge North America Inc., Tulsa, Okla.
Outreach: Buzzi Unicem, Inc., Stockertown, Pa.
Environmental Performance: Holcim (US) Inc., Theodore, Ala.
Land Stewardship: CEMEX, Lyons, Colo.
Innovation: CEMEX, Demopolis, Ala.
Energy Efficiency: CalPortland Company, Rillito, Ariz.
Twenty-seven cement plants in the United States and Canada were nominated for the awards.
Overall Environmental Excellence
Lafarge North America Inc., Tulsa, Okla.
The Lafarge Tulsa plant actively pursued a wide-range of environmental and energy efficiency activities in 2010. Through monitoring and equipment adjustments, the plant was able to decrease its electricity consumption by more than nine percent compared to 2009 usage and reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 50 percent per ton of clinker. A web-based energy tracking program has allowed the plant to monitor energy consumption and determine energy savings. Joining with several environmental organizations, the plant sponsored the Oklahoma Rocks & Minerals Program that educates Tulsa and Rogers County fifth grade students about native mineral deposits and environmental preservation efforts, largely using the plants five certified wildlife habitats. The plant partnered with The Nature Conservancy in Tulsa to host Earth Day Clean-Up 2010, which included a clean-up of the shores of the Arkansas River. The facility even declared September 2010 as its Environmental Month and stressed its environmental program to employees, drivers and community.
Buzzi Unicem, Inc., Stockertown, Pa.
For several years, the Buzzi Unicem Stockertown plant and its employees have worked with the community to increase public environmental awareness through tree planting, clean-up activities, air pollution educational booths and even a gas can exchange program. In 2010, Buzzi expanded outreach through the rehabilitation of a three-mile stretch of Bushkill Stream. Working with the Bushkill Stream Conservancy, not only were improvements made such as streamside trails, installation of safe access and the planting of 70 hardwood and evergreen trees, nearly 100 plants and shrubs and roughly one mile of ground cover, but an “open air laboratory” was created for use by local schools and organizations. By the middle of 2010, several schools had utilized the facilities for classroom instruction and projects such as a compost production comparison. Plans for 2011 include using school cafeteria scraps for the compost and the addition of two more learning stations.
Environmental Performance Award
Holcim (US) Inc., Theodore, Ala.
In 2010, the Holcim Theodore facility more than met its corporate requirement to “improve and demonstrate continued sustainable environmental performance.” The plant had major emission reductions in particulate matter and nitrogen oxide when compared to 2009, exceeding state and federal requirements. The plant focused efforts on utilizing alternative fuels in place of traditional fuels. It conserved a tremendous amount of traditional fossil fuels buy utilizing fuels such as used tired (1.1 million), used oil and oil materials (including 10,000 gallons of site-generated oil), wood chips and plastic by-products. The Theodore plant even stepped up to assist with the disposal of oil absorbent materials resulting from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 1,000 tons were utilized in their kiln system rather than being landfilled. The plant was able to increase its alternative mineral component in the final cement product by 20 percent compared to 2009, further limiting carbon dioxide production.
CEMEX, Lyons, Colo.
The CEMEX Lyons facility has a multifaceted land stewardship program. In 2010, its initiatives included establishing pollinator gardens for native species, exotic and invasive weed species management program, transitioning disturbed sites to native prairie vegetation and enhancing wildlife habitat and monitoring. The Lyons plant has approached its disturbed area restoration holistically, including management of native plants with the release of displaced or rehabilitated animals from the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. To control exotic and invasive weed species, the facility has even utilized goat herds to remove the unwanted plants. In 2010, employees worked with a local Boy Scout troop to build and install nesting houses to entice the return of additional birds. Additionally the plant hosts groups from local schools, universities and Audubon Society to engage the community.
CEMEX, Demopolis, Ala.
To reduce its dependency on conventional fossil fuels, in 2010 the CEMEX Demopolis facility added a processing line that can handle a range of alternative fuels. The system can utilize wood chips, peanut shells, tire fluff, refuse-derived fuels (RDF) and other materials that would have been ordinarily landfilled. RDF is produced by shredding and dehydrating municipal solid waste, and consists largely of combustible components such as plastics and unrecyclable paper waste. RDF can be a considered a “perfect” fuel as it creates a tremendous amount of heat without fossil fuel-related emissions. The plant is capable of utilizing more than 150 tons of RDF per day, reducing its need for coal.
CalPortland Company, Rillito, Ariz.
The CalPortland Company has an established history of energy efficiency successes and continues to find additional improvements at its facilities. Even with the current economic challenges, the CalPortland plant in Rillito was able to reduce its 2010 energy per equivalent ton of cement by two percent compared to 2009 use which resulted in a carbon dioxide reduction of more than 1,400 million tons. Some of the projects included kiln expert system controls, kiln baghouse efficiency optimization, compressor drive replacements and finish mill optimization. The CalPortland program also includes energy efficiency communication activities to the community, local schools, government agencies, customers and suppliers, construction materials industry and even competitors.
History of the Awards
The awards program was created in 2000 by the Portland Cement Association as part of its renewed environment and energy strategic plan for the U.S. cement industry. The awards honor activities conducted during the previous calendar year, and the program is open to any cement manufacturing plant in North America. Judges for the 2011 awards represent independent groups such as National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, U.S. EPA-ENERGY STAR, Cement Americas and the U.S. Geological Survey.