OK, let’s start with the basics as explained by Herb Johns, product manager for Lafarge of Lafarge North America: “Cement is not something that you walk on. It’s not something that you drive on. That’s concrete. Cement is a powder that you mix with water to make a paste to glue sand and stone together.”
In this week’s episode of Cool Stuff Being Made we see what goes into making cement, starting at the quarry and going all the way to the loading of the trucks — three minutes to load 25 tons. There’s lots of processing in between — crushing, etc. The element that’s often overlooked but is clearly essential in the manufacturing is energy…heat to process the rock. Thirty percent of the fuel used at the Cementon, Pa., facility comes from scrap tires, which hold the equivalent of two gallons of oil a piece. And a lot is used: 33 million tires a year.
As Lafarge’s website explains: “Lafarge is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada. We produce and sell cement, ready-mixed concrete, gypsum wallboard, aggregates, asphalt, and related products and services. Our products are used in residential, commercial and public works construction projects across North America.”
And, yet again, our many thanks to PCN, the good people at Pennsylvania Cable Network who supplied the original video.
* Speaking of energy, from a Lafarge news release datelined Bath, Ontario:
Today, Lafarge North America Inc., the country’s largest cement manufacturer and Performance Plants Inc. (PPI) a Kingston-based biotechnology company, announced a multi-year agreement to grow and develop clean energy biomass grasses and woods for use as fuel at the Lafarge Cement Plant in Bath.
For Lafarge, the joint project is part of the company’s ongoing public commitment to reduce its carbon footprint including the use of renewable and local fuel alternatives.
“The future of the environment, our business and the communities we serve depends on reducing the need for fossil fuels to run our operations,” said Robert Cumming, environmental and public affairs manager at the Lafarge Bath Cement Plant. “We’re proud to team up with Performance Plants who has extensive knowledge in biomass technology.”
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