Roanoke Cement Co. (RCC) is putting the necessary equipment in place so it can start trials to begin using “biomass” to help fire its cement kilns.
The investment, which Plant Manager Kevin Baird called substantial, is the latest effort by RCC to reduce its overall “carbon footprint.”
Baird said the company has set November as a target date to start trials to include biomass as a fuel for the kilns. Right now, the company is building the system to “dose” biomass material into the kiln system.
The company will do trials and tests some materials to see how it affects operations and product.
He expects all to go well.
The company has permits to use biomass as a fuel for its kilns, which burn at extremely high temperatures. The kilns now burn coal.
Baird said RCC initially plans to use waste wood products to replace some of the coal it now uses. There may be opportunities to use other biomass fuels down the road—such as switchgrass that’s grown specifically as a biomass fuel.