2020 Energy & Environment Award Winners
The 2020 Energy and Environment Awards recognize outstanding environmental and community relations efforts that go above and beyond what is required. Submissions from plants across the
U.S. were evaluated and recognized for environmental efforts completed in 2019.
In 2019, the Argos Harleyville Cement Plant had a focus on improving the overall energy management by reducing kiln specific heat consumption and increasing the utilization of the new vertical cement mill (VCM), which in turn lowered the overall power consumption in producing cement. The Harleyville Plant achieved both of those goals, reducing the kiln SHC by 7.5% and producing all Type I cement in the VCM, which lowered the power consumption by 13%. The Harleyville Plant also has had a very long and positive history in alternative fuel usage, and in 2019 the plant achieved one of its highest alternative fuel substitution rates at 27% substitution to tradition fuels.
The Ash Grove Midlothian plant received air permits and operates a whole tire burning system utilizing a first-in-the-USA “hot disk” system that is supplied with whole tires from a nearby tire recycling company. The use of a unique high-angle sandwich belt conveyor system has enabled the plant to convert from inefficient whole tire burning as a fuel source to highly efficient and cost-effective chipped tires. The high-angle sandwich belt conveyor system for chipped tires has increased tire burn consumption by 500%-600% over the previous whole tire system to achieve guaranteed tire burn rates allowed by the air permit. This, in turn, helps reduce tire disposal to landfills while also displacing fossil fuel consumption at the plant. The plant also received continuing certification in 2019 under ISO14001:2015 by Eagle Registrations.
In April of 2019, GCC’s Odessa Plant completed installation of a Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) System for NOx emission reduction. Following commissioning activities, an optimization protocol was executed to define the most efficient operational conditions, which both maximized the NOx reduction and minimized the ammonia slip (i.e. excess reagent). In order to make this determination, GCC developed a unique approach to the programming of the SNCR system control loop, which has resulted in more stable emission control and lower ammonia emissions to atmosphere while maintaining the required NOx emission limit.
In order to address safety, economic and environmental considerations, LafargeHolcim’s Holly Hill plant relocated a diversion canal, restoring it to an ecologically beneficial stream similar to its original path. In 1989, prior to LafargeHolcim’s ownership, Home Branch was diverted from its original path by means of an upland ditch with vertical sides, which was not representative of a natural stream channel as it was void of floodplains, depth and width changes, and meanders. There were concerns that the upland dug diversion canal would undergo structural failure and collapse, flooding the quarry, which would threaten employees and equipment. A collapse would also potentially result in environmental damage to the adjacent Four Hole Swamp if flow was interrupted for an extended period.
The multi-year, multi-million-dollar project played a critical role in quarry water management by significantly reducing the groundwater infiltration, as well as, minimizing the potential collapse hazard of the existing diversion canal. The stream was designed to vastly improve on the existing diversion canal, closely follow the original flow to the Four Hole Swamp, and incorporate sinuosity and floodplains into the upstream portion. It also includes a hardwood woodland buffer along most of the new channel route, providing enhanced habitat for indigenous plant and animal species.
In 2019, Roanoke Cement Company’s broad and varied outreach was demonstrated in plant tours, campus events, off-site presentations, articles, newsletters, honors, awards and recognition, and the communication of major plant initiatives. Periodic publications brought the plant’s news on developments, like its Zero Waste initiatives, to customers and the community. Educational experiences on campus served to make both students and environmental professionals familiar with RCC’s work. Exciting developments on-site reached political leaders and “green” builders who scheduled visits and toured the operations and surroundings.
Three years ago, Lehigh Cement undertook a Haines Branch Stream mitigation project, which spanned 2.2 miles, and the company has been monitoring the area since project completion. In 2019, after three years of monitoring and allowing ample time for the proper flourishing of flora and fauna, the results and benefits of the project became highly visible. As a result to the improved water quality, benthic macroinvertebrates and fish populations in the restored section of the Haines Branch Stream have increased in quantity and diversity. In addition, the improvements are attracting numerous wildlife to the region, including white-tailed deer, raccoon, fox, eastern cottontail rabbit, mink, coyote, opossum, great blue heron, wood duck, mallard, barred owl, northern flicker, blue jay, snipe, and nesting songbirds.