Displaying items by tag: Emissions
US: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have agreed a settlement with Cemex, under which the company will invest approximately US$10m to cut air pollution at five of its cement plants to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Under the consent decree lodged in the District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Cemex will also pay a US$1.69m civil penalty, conduct energy audits at the five plants, and spend US$150,000 on energy efficiency projects to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from its facilities.
“This settlement requires Cemex to use state-of-the-art technology to reduce harmful air pollution, improving public health in vulnerable communities across the South and Southeast,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to tackling clean air violations at the largest sources, cutting the pollutants that cause respiratory illnesses like asthma.”
The five Cemex cement plants affected by the deal are located in Demopolis in Alabama, Louisville in Kentucky, Knoxville in Tennessee and New Braunfels and Odessa in Texas. The Knox County, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky air pollution control authorities participated in this settlement. Cemex is required to install pollution control technology that will reduce emissions of NOx and establish strict limits for sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. The cement producer will install and continuously operate a selective non-catalytic reduction system for controlling NOx at the five plants and meet emission limits that are consistent with the current best available control technology for NOx. EPA estimates this will result in NOx emissions reductions of over 4000t/yr. Each facility will also be subject to strict SO2 emission limits.
This settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiative to control harmful emissions from large sources of pollution, which includes cement plants, under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. The total combined SO2 and NOx emission reductions secured from cement plant settlements under this initiative will exceed 75,000t/yr once all the required pollution controls have been installed and implemented.
The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
US: The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is working with Lehigh Cement to investigate a potential source of hexavalent chromium (chromium six) emissions from a cement terminal in Portland. The environmental agency suspects that cement dust may be a contributing source of chromium six that it has monitored since March 2016 in southeast Portland. The DEQ is working with the cement company to improve its dust-capturing efforts when unloading cement from railcars.
“We're concerned about the persistence of elevated levels of chromium,” said Pete Shepherd, interim DEQ director. “We are making every effort to bring those levels down.” The DEQ has also required a nearby glass manufacturer to clean its exhaust stacks to tackle the problem.
Germany: HeidelbergCement has released its seventh Sustainability Report so far. Highlights from the report include a reduction of specific net CO2 emissions by 22% to 606kg/t of cement (compared to 1990 levels) and a decreased clinker factor of 75%. However, specific emissions for NOx, SO2 and mercury all rose slightly from 2014.
“The numbers show what kind of progress HeidelbergCement made in 2015,” said Bernd Scheifele, CEO of HeidelbergCement. “We have also substantially intensified our commitment to the development of technologies to use CO2 as a resource, and we have entered into very promising cooperative research projects. This puts us at the forefront of the movement in the cement industry.”
The 2015 report is also the first to present data on water management, following the implementation of industry indicators for water reporting at all cement plants in 2013 and 2014.
Canada: St Marys Cement has reported breaching its limits for air emissions on five occasions in 2015. Environmental manager Ruben Plaza presented the findings to Clarington council on 13 June 2016, according to the Durham Region newspaper.
Plaza said the first two breaches occurred in January 2015 and were caused by plant and quarry activities. They measured values of 53mg/m3 and 72mg/m3. The other three breaches were not related to the plant’s activity, according to Plaza. He blamed them on, ”…activities close to samplers or could have been construction on Highway 401.” These occurred twice in May and again in July 2015. They were 51mg/m3, 51mg/m3 and 54mg/m3 respectively. Plaza added that it is not ‘abnormal’ for an industrial plant to exceed its air emissions limits on occasions, provided they do not happen constantly. The local 24-hour average limit for emissions is 53mg/m3.
It was also revealed that St Marys Cement’s operations released 4096t of SO2 between in 2015. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change allows for 3511t. However, the cement producer is allowed to transfer the difference between its plants to obtain clearance.
The Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) has announced its aim to reduce CO2 emissions by clinker producers by 20 - 25% by 2030. It made the announcement as part of a new action plan launched on 8 December 2015 at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21).
Most of the plan follows the CSI's existing aims announced to chime with the on-going COP21 negotiations. The plan depends on a long-term agreement being brokered successfully in Paris at COP21 as a whole. It then recommends policy in each of its key areas to achieve its goals. All of this sits beneath a general policy statement to, '...encourage policies for predictable, objective, level-playing and stable CO2 constraints and incentives as well as energy frameworks on an international level.'
The Cement Action Plan is part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi). It puts together a series of measures to aspire to reduce CO2 emissions by 1Gt by 2030 compared to business as usual. However this reduction is dependent on the entire cement industry getting involved, not just the existing 26 CSI members. Together these 26 members represent just a quarter of world cement production.
The drop in emissions is based on the so-called 'best-in-class' CSI company 2020 targets. To reach this the CSI is suggesting actions including focusing on recording Chinese cement industry emissions and energy usage, improving energy efficiency, promoting co-processing of alternative fuels, further lowering the clinker factor of cements, developing new low-energy and low-carbon cements, looking at the entire build chain to reduce emissions and considering other options such as carbon capture and storage. The plan had the support of the CEOs of 16 cement companies at its launch, with CNBM CEO Song Zhiping adding his assent at the event also.
The most prominent step is the clear focus on China for data capture using existing CSI tools such as the CO2 and Energy Accounting and Reporting Standard for the Cement Industry, the Getting the Numbers Right (GNR) and the Cement Technology Roadmaps. As the CSI puts it, "What gets measured gets managed."
Given that China produces around 60% of the world's cement, according to United States Geological Survey data, the focus on China is essential. Currently the CSI has six Chinese members: CNBM, Sinoma, China Resources, Tianrui Group, West China Cement and Yati Group. Notable exceptions to CSI membership from the world's biggest cement producers include the Chinese producers Anhui Conch and Taiwan Cement, as well as Russia's Eurocement and India's Aditya Birla Group.
So, the CSI has set out its stall ahead of a hoped-for global agreement on climate change at the Paris conference. If some sort of legal agreement is reached then the CSI has its recommendations ready in the wings to hand to policymakers everywhere to promote its aims. If no agreement is reached then the plan loses momentum although pushing forwards makes sense where possible, starting with better CO2 data reported especially in China.
Problems lie ahead for the CSI whatever happens in Paris given that the LCTPi Cement Action Plan is a series of policy suggestions from only 16 cement producers aiming for a non-binding target. For example, without some sort of world legal agreement there are clear commercial advantages for non-CSI members to burn cheap fossil fuels in their kilns and undercut their more environmentally pious rivals. The sustaining low cost of oil, dipping below US$40/barrel this week, can only aggravate this situation and distract the strategies of fuel buyers away from co-processing upgrades.
India: Pollution caused by seven cement plants in the Khrew area of South Kashmir is adversely affecting wildlife, saffron production, human and livestock wellbeing, according to local media.
The local people said that the worst affected villages of Khrew include Pakhribal Nagadore and Botthen. The lives of people living in these villages have been 'turned into hell.' Locals have demanded that the government strictly enforce pollution control norms at the cement plants.
Environmental science expert Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, who has studied the effects of cement plants in Khrew on the human lives, flora, fauna and wildlife, said that their presence is harmful in the short- and long-term. He said that mercury emissions have already affected saffron production, while dust pollution has affected both Khrew woods and the neighbouring village of Harwan. Bhat added that the area also has more respiratory problems among locals.
A meeting between the civil society Khrew Auqaf Committee, deputy commissioner Pulwama Neeraj Kumar and the cement plant owners was held to discuss pollution and monitoring. A resolution is expected to be presented at a second meeting within a month.
India: According to the Times of India, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has served closure notices on the three cement plants in Malwani, Maharashtra. The plants have 48 hours to close.
Nearby residents had protested against the air pollution caused by the plants. An investigation by the MPCB showed that particulate matter (PM) emissions exceeded the allowed standards in February and March 2015. "This is among the swiftest action taken by the MPCB and we are very grateful to the board for taking up the matter so fast," said Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that had taken up the matter on behalf of the residents.
US: CTP Sinto America, the North American business unit of Chemisch Thermische Prozesstechnik GmbH (CTP), has entered into a contract with Holcim (US) to supply emissions reductions equipment for one of the cement kilns at Holcim's Midlothian plant in Texas. In the project, exhaust gases from the main baghouse and coal mill baghouse are combined and sent to the new system and then directed to the existing wet scrubber.
The project scope includes supply and installation of a CTP Model AutoTherm6-4200 designed to handle 420,000 Nm3/hr of gas and duct modifications required to route the gas to the regenerative thermal oxidiser (RTO) and return it to the exhaust. CTP Sinto America will provide engineering, manufacturing, project management, field operations, installation and commissioning. Controls will be integrated into Holcim's existing plant-wide DCS. The system will be ready for operation in 2016. The RTO will be manufactured at subsidiary SandMold Systems in Newaygo, Michigan with some specialty parts manufactured at CTP facilities in Austria.
Egypt: According to Reuters, Arabian Cement Company has commissioned new alternative fuel processing machinery at its plant in Suez.
The state-of-the-art FLSmidth HOTDISCTM allows Arabian Cement's plant to rely completely on coal and alternative fuels to run its operations. Moreover, it enables the plant to operate its kilns using alternative fuel materials directly, without the need to pre-treat them. Arabian Cement now has a designed fuel mix of 70% coal and 30% alternative fuels. The alternative fuel that will be used will be a mixture of agricultural wastes, municipal sludge and refuse-derived fuels (RDF). Alternative fuel use is expected to result in around 60,000t/yr of reduced CO2 emissions.
India: According to Live Mint, the majority of 3261 highly-polluting industries in India, including the cement and steel sectors, are set to miss the June 2015 deadline set by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) to install online effluent and emission monitoring systems.
Most industries have recently sought an extension to September 2015, although some from sectors like petrochemicals and refinery asked the deadline to be extended to June 2016. The environment ministry is considering the former plea. "The ministry is favourably considering extending the deadline until September 2015 for the majority of industries. But we are not sure about extending it to June 2016 for certain industries. A final call will be taken soon in this regard," said a senior environment ministry official.
On 16 - 17 June 2015, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) held a meeting of industrial associations and common waste management facilities to review the status of compliance of their directions regarding the installation of online effluent and emission monitoring devices. According to the minutes of the meeting, 'By-and-large, associations have agreed to meet the deadlines by September 2015, except in the case of mini cement plants, refinery, petrochemicals and common bio-medical facilities.'
In December 2014 the CPCB identified 3261 industries in 17 categories of highly-polluting industries, including the cement, iron and steel, thermal power plants, sugar, tannery, distillery, fertilisers and pesticide sectors. The CPCB had asked the industries to install online effluent and emission monitoring systems by June 2015, failing which bank guarantees of 100% of the cost of online systems (emission or effluent) would be forfeited. The CPCB had also said that its 'consent to operate' would be withdrawn from non-complaint industries.