Holcim’s Portland cement plant in Colorado claims to be the first in the United States to use solar power, reports Pueblo Chieftain. The installation of 528 solar panels is projected to produce about 156,201 kilowatts of power each hour, which is enough to power the administrative offices, according to the article.
Holcim expects the solar system to prevent an estimated 301,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Black Hill Energy says there about 300 solar systems in the Penrose area helping the utility supply power, of which Holcim is its largest customer, consuming about 10 percent of the utility’s total electrical load, reports the newspaper.
Holcim also uses alterative fuels such as car tires to help heat the plant’s kilns, consuming an estimated 4 million passenger car-sized tires each year, reports Pueblo Chieftain.
Cement makers are said to be one of the largest carbon-emitting industries, contributing five percent of global emissions. In May last year, a coalition representing the world’s leading cement makers agreed to reduce emissions by 25 percent.
To help the cement industry become more sustainable, the RMC Research & Education Foundation now offers a new tool, Sustainable Concrete Plant Guidelines, which provides guidelines on how cement companies can make their own plants and operations more sustainable including how to assess energy and resource consumption for continuous improvement.