Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cemex seeks state permission to test burn alternative fuels at Brooksville kilns

BROOKSVILLE — From corn husks and peanut hulls to carpets and roofing shingles, the owners of Cemex's Brooksville South Cement Plant are seeking state permission to test a variety of alternative fuels to run their operation.

Cemex Construction Materials Florida LLC has applied to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a short-term trial testing of a list of alternative products the company wants to burn to operate the plant's cement kilns.

The list includes plastic agricultural film; agricultural waste such as animal bedding, citrus peels and rice hulls; carpet-derived fuel; woody biomass; roofing shingles; paper; and tire-derived fuel.

Emissions have been an issue at the Brooksville South Cement Plant previously.

Late last year, the DEP slapped the firm with a $525,000 fine for allowing mercury emissions from the kilns at the plant that exceeded permitted limits by as much as 10 times. Cemex officials say they have made changes in their process and fixed the problem.

Mercury, which can cause neurological problems, is found in the raw materials used in the kilns and escapes after the firing process through the smokestacks. From there it is absorbed into the environment.

The company is optimistic about the potential of the new fuel.

"These recovered materials are requested similar to other recent applications for materials that can supplant conventional fossil fuel and raw materials,'' wrote Kyle G. Ulmer of Koogler and Associates Inc., in the Cemex application.

"These materials, while new to the experience of the cement plants in Florida, are used in other cement kilns throughout the U.S. and the world,'' he wrote.

Koogler and Associates is a Gainesville firm that provides engineering and consulting services to industries in matters related to air quality management, air pollution control and environmental permitting, according to the firm's website.

Other benefits to the plan, according to the Cemex application, include promoting a more diverse energy supply, using locally generated resources rather than coal from the Appalachian Mountains, promoting related recycling business activities, which creates jobs, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Brooksville South Cement Plant has two kilns that together produce about 2 million tons per year. Kiln No. 2 is the focus of the application. Currently, the permit for the kiln allows the use of coal, natural gas, petroleum, coke, propane, fuel oil, other used oil, fly ash and whole tires as fuels.

Cemex is seeking permission for a 24-month period to conduct feasibility studies of the alternative fuels. If the materials tested are feasible and acceptable to the DEP, Cemex plans to seek a new construction permit to use the materials long term.

The current application only deals with the short-term trial, however.

"It should be stressed that this permit is requesting to only allow short-term trials of these materials in order to evaluate their effectiveness in the process,'' according to the application.

The application also notes that, if use of any material results in emissions exceeding the current permitted limits, the use will be immediately stopped.

Tires as a fuel have been used at the cement plant for a while, said Michael McHugh, county business development manager who had previously worked at the plant. He said the tires were a very efficient fuel and that, despite public perception that they burn and cause air emissions, the tires actually vaporize in the burning process.

One ton of tires, McHugh said, equals 1 ton of coal.

Cemex plant manager Jim Daniel said the effort to find other alternatives was a responsible thing for the company to do.

"The use of alternative fuels for energy recovery is a major benefit to all parties, the company, the state of Florida, and the community,'' he said. "Cemex's effort to permit and utilize alternative fuels is part of the company's overall sustainability objectives.

"It will help us further reduce overall CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, and it fully supports the state of Florida's solid waste management program's goal to reduce landfill disposal,'' Daniel said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Cemex seeks state permission to test burn alternative fuels at Brooksville kilns 02/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.

    In September 2016, signs at St. Petersburg's North Shore Park warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city's overwhelmed sewer system. The City Council on Thursday learned that the very expensive fix for its sewage woes could hamper the city's credit rating. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Pinellas County receives $30 million for beach renourishment

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — While Pinellas beaches continually rank among the best in America, they need help to stay that way.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $30 million to help with beach renourishment at several Pinellas locations, including including Sand Key, Treasure Island and Upham Beach. This photo from 2014 shows how waves from high tides caused beach erosion at Sunset Beach near Mansions by the Sea condominium complex SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions


    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    Fireworks shoot into the sky over the David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts. [SCOTT MCINTYRE, Times]
  4. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say


    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a large swan sculpture that was stolen from a Lakeland cold storage facility last weekend, possibly by a naked man.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man stole a large black and white swan sculpture, upper right, from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend. Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning


    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."