17th September 2020 3 min read

Increased use of alternatives to fossil fuels is helping CRH produce more sustainable cement

CRH’s Ash Grove Midlothian Cement Plant in Texas was awarded the Environmental Performance Award by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) at the Association’s 2020 Energy Environment Awards in recognition of the plant’s whole-tyre burning system to produce alternative fuel.

Utilising a first-in-the-USA “hot disk”, the plant has been able to convert from whole-tyre burning as a fuel source to highly efficient and cost-effective chipped tyres. The system has increased tyre burn consumption fivefold and has helped reduce tyre disposal to landfill while also reducing fossil fuel consumption at the plant.

Increasing the use of alternative fuels, as well as improving the energy efficiency of cement kilns, and reducing clinker-to-cement ratios, are just some of the ways in which CRH is reducing emissions from our cement plants.

Elsewhere, CRH’s cement plants in Slovakia are set to benefit from the opening of a new alternative fuels processing facility which will help to secure a reliable supply of alternative fuels and divert waste from landfills.

Ecorec, part of CRH's Europe Materials Division, is increasing its alternative fuels production capacity by 50% and has invested in a new alternative fuels production line at one of its plants in the southwest of the country. The facility will process non-recyclable industrial waste for use in cement plants.

Replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuels is a key contributor to reducing the carbon intensity of cement production. By substituting traditional fossil fuels with alternative fuels we can conserve natural resources, reduce CO2 emissions, deliver financial efficiencies and support the circular economy.

In 2020, CRH used 2.1 million tonnes of alternative fuels, providing 34% of fuel requirements for our cement plants. In the European Union, alternative fuels provided 51% of total energy consumption in our cement plants.