USA: EPA sets emissions limits for cement plants

USA: EPA sets emissions limits for cement plants
Published: 20 August 2010

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing rules that will cut emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants from Portland cement manufacturing. This will require the US cement industry to invest millions of dollars over the next three years, says market research firm The McIlvaine Company.

The emissions from individual cement plants vary greatly because of the chemical composition of the limestone used as raw materials, explains McIlvaine. The result is different pollution reduction needs from one plant to another and this translates into opportunities for suppliers with innovative technology.

McIlvaine believes there will be attractive markets for scrubbers, regenerative thermal oxidisers, fabric filters and wet precipitators. Major components will include slurry valves, pumps, dampers, fans and nozzles. There will be substantial requirements for piping and ductwork. Instrumentation investments will also be substantial.

When fully implemented in 2013, EPA estimates the annual emissions will be reduced:
    •    mercury: 16 600 lbs or 92%;
    •    total hydrocarbons: 10 600t or 83%;
    •    particulate matter: 11 500t or 92%;
    •    acid gases (measured as hydrochloric acid): 5 800tor 97%;
    •    sulphur dioxide (SO2): 110 000t or 78%; and
    •    nitrogen oxides (NOx): 6600t or 5%.

EPA estimates that the rules will yield US$6.7-18bn in health and environmental benefits, with costs estimated at US$926-950m annually in 2013. Another EPA analysis estimates emission reductions and costs will be lower, with costs projected to be US$350m annually.

McIlvaine will analyse the market potential in a webinar on 16 September.