Environmental Performance Award
In 2011, the Holcim (US) Theodore plant substituted more than 25,000 tons of traditional fossil fuel with alternative fuels such as used tires, used oil, used oil absorbent materials from the 2010 BP oil spill, wood chips and plastic by-products. Through its emission monitoring and reporting program, the Theodore plant voluntarily installed continuous emission monitoring (CEM) units for sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide, and total hydrocarbons. These CEM units serve an important function for kiln operators and managers by helping to optimize the kiln system and minimize emissions. In 2011, the plant targeted further emission reductions through a program initiative that included installation of a selective non-catalytic reduction system, which has resulted in continuous improvement in nitrogen oxides control when compared to 2010.
In the past year, the company received permission from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to use residual dump materials and stockpiles of cement kiln dust as feedstock in its kilns. This not only put the plant on a path to rid the landscape of a dump but also reduced its need for virgin materials. St. Marys continued in its partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, operating and maintaining the Medusa Creek Fish Weir. The weir is located on plant property and consists entirely of quarry discharge water. In 2011, nearly 8,000 salmon were harvested, up almost 2,400 from 2010. 2011 was also the year the plant entered into an agreement with local municipalities to turn rail lines – formerly used for hauling cement – into community trails that provide local residents a pathway connecting them to Fisherman’s Island State Park, which adjoins the St. Marys plant as well as connecting Lake Charlevoix with Lake Michigan.
To reduce maintenance and the resulting significant downtime, the CEMEX Louisville plant replaced the traditional pug mill with a “pug screw,” a common material handling screw. Benefits included reduced parts maintenance and usage and increased energy savings. The pug screw installation increased grinding efficiency; reduced the plant’s raw feed downtime (yielding an estimated savings of nearly $196,000 annually); reduced maintenance and parts consumption by approximately 70 percent; and an annual savings of approximately 620,000 kilowatts per hour (an 80 pecent reduction in power usage).
The CEMEX Louisville team is committed to continuously improving its process through regular and robust assessments of their conditions for identifying improvement areas for energy efficiency. This leadership is repeatedly demonstrated with recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarding CEMEX Louisville with Industrial Plant ENERGY STAR Certifications five years in a row, including 2011.
History of the Awards
The awards program was created in 2000 by the Portland Cement Association as part of its 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 2012 Awards Program included representatives from U.S. EPA-ENERGY STAR, Wildlife Habitat Council, U.S. Geological Survey, World Wildlife Fund and Cement Americas.