USA: Cemex seeks permission to test burn alternative fuels at Florida plant

USA: Cemex seeks permission to test burn alternative fuels at Florida plant
Published: 17 February 2011

From corn husks and peanut hulls to carpets and roofing shingles, the owners of Cemex’s Brooksville South cement plant are seeking state permission to test a variety of alternative fuels.

Cemex Construction Materials Florida LLC has applied to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a short-term trial testing of a list of alternative products the company wants to burn to operate the plant’s cement kilns. The list includes plastic agricultural film, agricultural waste such as animal bedding, citrus peels, rice hulls, carpet-derived fuel, woody biomass, roofing shingles, paper and tyre-derived fuel.

Emissions have been an issue at the Brooksville South Cement Plant previously. Late last year, the DEP slapped the firm with a US$525,000 fine for allowing mercury emissions from the kilns at the plant that exceeded permitted limits by as much as 10 times. Cemex officials say they have made changes in their process and fixed the problem.

The company is optimistic about the potential of the new fuel. The Cemex application also highlights other benefits, including promoting a more diverse energy supply and using locally-generated resources rather than coal.

The Brooksville South cement plant has two kilns that together produce about 2Mta. Kiln No 2 is the focus of the application. Currently, the permit for the kiln allows the use of coal, natural gas, petcoke, propane, fuel oil, other used oil, fly ash and whole tyres as fuels.

Cemex is seeking permission for a 24-month period to conduct feasibility studies of the alternative fuels. If the materials tested are feasible and acceptable to the DEP, Cemex plans to seek a new construction permit to use the materials long term.