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The Holcim Hagerstown plant in Maryland, United States, is accelerating its pace towards net neutrality by expanding its alternative thermal energy capacity to 45%. This represents around 58,000 tons of fuel per year. The start of the project was celebrated with an opening ceremony last week. This $11 million investment will help improve the plant’s sustainability profile by replacing traditional fuels with alternative thermal energy from end-of-life materials such as non-recyclable paper, plastics and fibers. If these materials were not used in this way, they would end up in landfills.

Michael Nixon, senior vice president of Manufacturing at Holcim North, based in Chicago, said that expanding the use of alternative thermal energy to 45% provides multiple environmental and economic benefits to the company, from reducing net carbon intensity in cement manufacturing to reduce the consumption of traditional fuels. The most important thing about this achievement is that it allows them to be part of the circular economy, by offering a highly safe and ecological solution for unused materials.

Alternative thermal energy will be obtained from non-recyclable commercial and industrial materials, such as packaging materials. Most of these materials will be pre-processed by Geocycle, a Holcim US subsidiary, at its new facility in Cumberland, Maryland. The facility is permitted to process up to 75,000 tons per year of materials and will serve the needs of regional industrial manufacturers.

Adrienne A. Jones, Maryland House Speaker, said that the state House of Delegates is proud to support Holcim’s efforts to develop low-carbon building materials. Their support has come through the Buy Clean Maryland Act and legislation that went into effect this year, which added cement production to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act. Holcim continues to demonstrate its commitment to voluntarily reducing the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Cement manufactured in Hagerstown is used in construction projects throughout the region, including Amazon’s headquarters and Interstate 66 in Virginia, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, homes, businesses, roads and local infrastructure.

The Hagerstown, Maryland cement plant was built in 1903 and supplies cement to the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. The plant produces the highest quality limestone cement, has around 100 employees and produces 600,000 metric tons of cement per year. For the plant, safety-first culture is a top priority and this is constantly reinforced.

Other initiatives that promote environmental sustainability include: Reducing NOx to 60% and SO2 by around 50%, a modernization project that resulted in a significant reduction of particulate matter (PM) of more than 75%, the modernization of the kiln to comply with new NESHAP emissions limits, the opening of an adjacent solar field to provide clean, renewable energy for the facility operation.

The cement company Holcim has almost 350 facilities in the United States, located in 43 states and currently has around 7,000 employees. Their clients rely on their services to help them design and build better communities with innovative solutions that provide structural integrity and eco-efficiency.

Holcim is a global leader in innovative and sustainable construction solutions with net sales of around $29 billion in 2023. As a company, they seek to create progress for people and the planet and firmly believe in their mission to decarbonize construction hand in hand with their 63,448 employees around the world, as well as improving everyone’s living standards. The company also seeks to empower its customers in all regions to build better with less, with a wide range of low-carbon and circular solutions.


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