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Holcim opens tire-derived fuel facility at Alpena plant in Michigan

Holcim opens tire-derived fuel facility at Alpena plant in Michigan
Photo courtesy of Holcim

The Holcim Alpena plant, formerly Lafarge, in the U.S. state of Michigan, celebrated the opening of its new tire-derived fuel (TDF) facility. The state-supported initiative will safely and cleanly convert 22,000 tons of tires per year into energy.

The Alpena plant is the world’s largest cement plant, producing more than 2.4 million metric tons of cement annually.

State and local representatives joined Holcim Alpena plant employees for a ribbon cutting on June 1, 2023. Two of the plant’s five kilns will now be used to convert approximately 2.2 million automobile tires annually from the Geocycle facility in Coleman. The tires will be sustainably co-processed to create what is known as tire-derived fuel.

The Alpena Plant will begin using TDF to power 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.

In the United States, Holcim US includes nearly 350 sites in 43 states and employs 7,000 people.

“Holcim’s growing, continued investment in Michigan will grow our economy and create good-paying jobs in Alpena,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Together we are bringing jobs and investment, creating strong economic opportunity in every region, and ensuring more families and businesses can ‘make it in Michigan.’ We will keep partnering with cutting-edge businesses and lead the future of manufacturing, electrification and clean energy.”

Michigan State Senator Michele Hoitenga and Michigan State Representative Cam Cavitt, whose districts include the plant, also attended the event.

“These improvements to the Holcim Alpena plant are a great example of a public-private partnership,” said Hoitenga. “Holcim will now have the ability to divert our tires from landfills and streams and turn them into the building materials for tomorrow—a great opportunity for Alpena and northeast Michigan.”

“The addition of the Holcim TDF program in Alpena is exciting for the entire community,” Cavitt said. “I appreciate their commitment to Alpena and Northeast Michigan, and I look forward to working together in the future.”

Construction of the facility began in August 2022, funded in part by a USD3 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Total project cost was USD7.4 million.

“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 LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Holcim, will collect, preprocess and provide a stable source of unrecycled tires to the plant. Geocycle is driving the move towards a circular economy by turning industrial, agricultural and municipal byproducts into alternative fuels and raw materials.

Holcim Alpena’s cement is used in construction projects across Michigan, including the Gordie Howe Bridge, Comerica Park, Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena, and services customers throughout the Midwest and Ontario. The cement is used in roads, schools, hospitals, dams and ports, and for decorative applications such as patios, floors, staircases, driveways and pool decks.