Cemex looks to use refuse- and tire-derived fuels in Louisville

Company says the proposed switch to RDF and TDF could decrease the use of fossil fuels by more than half.

December 19, 2013
Waste Today Staff

Cement manufacturing firm Cemex, headquartered in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico, has petitioned the Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Air Pollution Control District to allow the company to add refuse-derived fuel (RDF) as an alternative fuel in its cement manufacturing process in Louisville. The company says the RDF will replace traditional fuels such as coal and petroleum coke.

RDF has already received approvals from the Louisville Metro Planning Commission and the Louisville Metro Solid Waste District. Additionally, the Kentucky Division of Waste Management permitted its use as a fuel in the summer of 2013.The draft permit is now with the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District for review.

The company’s Kosmos facility already uses tire-derived fuel (TDF) to meet up to 25 percent of the plant’s energy needs. Cemex says its use of TDF at the plant has resulted in more than three million scrap tires consumed since the Kosmos facility started to use TDF in December 2010.

The company notes that the recycled raw materials it presently uses includes coal ash and synthetic gypsum (spent lime from wet scrubbers) from electrical generating plants and mill scale from the steel industry.

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District is accepting public comment through Dec. 30 on a proposed new air quality permit for the plant that would allow the new fuel to be burned. It would allow up to 10 tons per hour of RDF, and increase the company’s TDF to 9 tons per hour. The company says the switch would result in a potential fossil fuel substitution of more than 60 percent—an estimated 30 percent for RDF and an estimated 37.5 percent for TDF.

During trial runs, Cemex says it was able to achieve an estimated 30 percent fossil fuel substitution with RDF and about 15 percent substitution with TDF for a total fossil fuel replacement of close to 50 percent.