The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has given the approval for LaFarge North America, a cement producer based in Chicago, to use scrap plastics and asphalt shingles at its cement kilns in Alpena, Michigan.
Lafarge had requested to be allowed to burn additional fuels in the company’s existing five cement kilns it operates at on site. Prior to receiving approval to use plastics and shingles as a fuel, the company had used coal, petroleum coke, clean wood and nonchlorinated, nonhalogenated polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) as fuel.
In its application, Lafarge said it could potentially use close to 140,000 tons of plastics per year, more than 82,000 tons of clean wood and 54,673 tons of shingles as a replacement fuel for the coal and coke it used as fuel.
Lafarge was issued a permit to install (PTI) in 2012 to allow for a trial burn of shingles in the kilns. The PTI required Lafarge to conduct stack testing for emissions of concern from the combustion of shingles and concurrently obtain material samples for analysis. Emission testing demonstrated the emissions were less than what Lafarge had originally estimated, according to the MDEQ.
Following analyses conducted by the MDEQ’s, Air Quality Division (AQD), staff concluded that the proposed project would comply with all applicable federal air quality requirements and with all of the MDEQ, AQD regulations.
The staff also concluded that the project, as proposed, would not violate the federal policies. Based on the conclusions, AQD’s staff has developed draft permit terms and conditions, which would ensure that the proposed facility design and operation are enforceable and that sufficient monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting would be performed by the applicant to determine compliance with these terms and conditions.
The DEQ says emissions shouldn’t have any health effects on residents who live nearby.
A state environmental engineer says tests at Lafarge show burning the materials produces air toxins below legal thresholds.
The plant can now burn 65,000 tons of plastics and 26,000 tons of asphalt shingles per year.