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Going green

Published by
World Cement,

David Perkins, Lehigh Hanson Inc., explains how a range of measures, including lower carbon cement and a new conveyor system at the Union Bridge plant will help it meet and exceed climate targets.

The Lehigh Cement Union Bridge plant and quarry, located in the heart of Carroll County, Maryland’s rural Piedmont Plateau, has been an integral part of the Union Bridge community for over a century. While its purpose and productivity have evolved over the years, the plant’s current evolution represents an unmatched milestone as sustainability, high productivity and efficiency take centre stage. Soon to be re-branded as Heidelberg Materials, Lehigh Cement is one of the leading cement producers in the United States.

The Lehigh Cement plant in Union Bridge produces 2 – 2.5 million tpy of cement – and, within the next year, its primary product will be a lower carbon cement. With this transition, the cement plant will avoid approximately 126 000 tpy of CO2 – the equivalent of removing about 27 000 cars from the road. The framework for this transition, and subsequent carbon reduction, requires a clear plan, hyper focus on logistics, and creative thinking that included a high efficiency overland conveyor system.

Roadmap to neutrality

The Union Bridge plant represents an important step in achieving the company’s industry-leading goal to reduce carbon emissions as a result of cement production.

The primary product is EcoCemPLCTM, a lower carbon Portland limestone cement (PLC) that uses higher amounts of limestone and lower amounts of clinker. It is a combination that reduces both the energy required for production and the associated emissions. The resulting carbon footprint can be as much as 10% lower than ordinary Portland cement.

Transitioning to the lower carbon solution has been a logistical challenge for the plant management team. Kent Martin, plant manager for the Union Bridge facility, explained, “Currently we have two primary general use cements – ordinary Portland cement and EcoCemPLC. To meet our existing demand, we have to balance production on our mills and silo inventory between both products.”

Jeff Hook, Regional Quality Control Director, added, “During the changeover, it’s all about mill time and mill allocations. Once the transition is fully complete, we’ll go back to normal operations with just one product.”

Key in the overall transition and future production of the Union Bridge plant to EcoCemPLC is the connection to the nearby limestone quarry – a link that opened up another window of opportunity for the Lehigh Cement team to further its sustainability goals.

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