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Massive storage meets sophistication

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World Cement,

Rebecca Long Pyper, Dome Technology, reports on a recent collaboration between Lehigh Cement Company and Dome Technology to build the world’s second-largest clinker storage.

Lehigh Cement Company collaborated with Dome Technology to build a clinker-storage dome in Mitchell, Indiana, USA, one that will increase operational capacity and take the company into the next decade of business.

It is also the largest clinker storage in the Western Hemisphere and second in the world only to a Romanian structure that Dome Technology built in 2008.

This dome, built for Lehigh Cement, a subsidiary of Lehigh Hanson, dwarfs most other bulk storage solutions, standing 220 ft in diameter and 160 ft tall. Its storage capacity maxes out at 169 000 t, and three on-grade reclaim tunnels achieve 83% live reclaim.

“It’s a colossal project. It’s one of our bigger domes as far as storage capacity,” said Dome Technology sales manager Lane Roberts. The project was centred around the second largest kiln in the Americas — an accurate representation of Lehigh’s “strong growth in the United States and continued commitment to our customers to meet the growing demand for a consistent, high-quality cement whilst improving our manufacturing efficiencies and reducing emissions,” said Lehigh Cement’s Deputy Project Director and Civil Manager, Kevin Cove.

Dome Technology’s scope of work includes dome construction, deep foundations, ring beam, tunnels, and at-grade entry for a front-end loader. While the dome size and sophistication are impressive, they simply represent a wider goal for Lehigh: reducing their environmental impact.

A green approach

The Mitchell project was part of Lehigh Cement’s efforts to upgrade an existing site 1.2 miles from the quarry, a proactive effort to reduce the facility’s impact on the environment. Lehigh Hanson has pinpointed sustainability as a corporate value, and the strategy for achieving it is based on three pillars: environmental protection, social responsibility, and good corporate governance.

That is the macro view, but success lies in the details. According to Cove, the Mitchell dome is large enough to replace work currently provided by five existing – and ageing – kilns and will reduce overall emissions to meet and exceed current EPA standards. “The clinker dome allows the clinker to be completely contained, vastly reducing particulate emissions or dust. Lehigh Hanson’s long-term success depends on sustainable business practices as well as trusting relations with our neighbours, business partners and employees,” he said.

Also, Lehigh has developed EcoCemPLC, a Portland limestone cement that meets ASTM C595 Type IL standards with more limestone, less clinker, and fewer CO2 emissions during production. It’s a new product that will be made and stored at the Mitchell plant, and to prove just how effective it can be, the company requested that the dome be built with it.

Dome Technology put the material through considerable field testing prior to construction, and once confident, the crew sprayed 7000 cubic yards to form the dome. Application was seamless, and ECOCemPLC will be the material of choice for Lehigh’s future. “We wanted all of our new construction to use it to showcase its capabilities, including specialty applications such as shotcrete that was used for the dome,” Cove said.

Even while under construction, the project drew public attention.The Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association recognised the Mitchell dome with an outstanding concrete award, and ENR Technology featured the project, highlighting its concrete makeup that reduces energy and emissions for a reduced concrete-carbon footprint.

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