Lehigh Cement proposes to use fuel product from paper mills

One of the company’s New York-based plants wants to use recycled paper, plastic trimmings for fuel.

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November 29, 2018
Edited by Megan Smalley

Lehigh Northeast Cement Company submitted an application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to modify its air emissions permit for its Glens Falls, New York, plant to allow the company to use an engineered fuel product originating from recycled paper mills as a partial substitute for fossil fuels to produce energy. 

According to a Lehigh Hanson news release, the DEC found that emissions testing demonstrated that use of the fuel “will not cause ambient impacts above State guideline concentrations,” and has issued a draft permit, which is now available for public review and comment.

The fuel, known as “raggertail,” is made up of 60 percent plastic trimmings and 40 percent paper and cardboard fiber, Lehigh Hanson reports. The company adds that raggertail meets the DEC’s criteria for use as an alternative fuel product and burning raggertail to produce energy is considered a safe and more beneficial use than disposing of the material in a landfill.

By using raggertail as a partial substitute for fossil fuels, Lehigh Northeast Cement will reduce its total air emissions and consumption of fossil fuels; conserve landfill space; and reduce the plant’s energy costs and make it more competitive in the cement market.

Before preparing its permit modification application, Lehigh Northeast Cement conducted raggertail test burns with the permission of DEC and performed air emissions tests to compare against the emissions from burning coal. These tests found the use of raggertail as a partial fossil fuels substitute resulted in a reduction in total air emissions from the Glens Falls plant, with decreased emission levels for some constituents and only nominal increases in others. 

Lehigh Northeast Cement’s draft permit and modification application can be viewed on its website.