The Holcim Alpena cement plant in Michigan celebrated the opening of its new whole-tire, co-processing facility – a $7.4 million, state-supported initiative that will safely and cleanly convert 22,000 tons of tires annually into alternative fuel for the plant.
“Holcim has invested more than $100 million in eco-friendly technologies at the Alpena plant in the last 15 years. The tire-derived fuel facility is another strong demonstration of our commitment to reduce emissions and balance the use of traditional and alternative fuels,” said Michael Nixon, senior vice president of manufacturing North for Holcim US. “We are grateful for the state of Michigan’s support for a project that will benefit the environment and push Holcim closer to our net-zero goals.”
Two of the Alpena plant’s five kilns will now be used to convert approximately 2.2 million automobile tires annually from the Geocycle facility in Coleman, Mich. The tires will be sustainably co-processed to create what is known as tire-derived fuel (TDF).
The Alpena plant, which is one of the largest cement plants in the United States, will begin using TDF to fuel approximately 10% of its thermal needs for operations. As a result, the plant will sustainably reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and other natural resources.
Construction of the facility began in August 2022, funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
“As a committed partner in this community for more than a century, we’re excited to provide the Alpena region a tire disposal solution that’s convenient and sustainable,” said Plant Manager Jeff Scott. “The TDF facility prevents tires from serving as mosquito breeding grounds, ending up in the Great Lakes or from being burned improperly and releasing toxic chemicals into the air and ground. It helps us protect our natural resources, reduce emissions and clean up our local area.”
Geocycle, a wholly owned subsidiary of Holcim, will collect, preprocess and provide a stable source of unrecycled tires to the plant.