EPA Regulations on Coal Burning Power Plants Will Impact Cement Production

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

And so it goes….with U.S. EPA regulations on coal fired power plants. After the EPA rids the country of coal-burning power plants, they will be coming after the concrete industry.

Concrete is the second most consumed product in the world, second only to water! Concrete pumps need concrete so the production of concrete and the availability of water should both be of some interest to you.

Both power plants and cement is produced using coal. Cement is produced in a kiln under high heat, the other boils water. Both utilize coal which produces a by-product called fly ash. For many years it was considered a waste material or by-product, but no longer.

Fly ash is a cementitious materiel. You may have noticed the word cementitious (or sometimes “cementatious” in this country) in mix designs replacing cement. That is because research has shown it can be used in concrete mixes to replace the more expensive cement.

For every ton of cement produced in a kiln, one ton of CO2 is produced. The EPA and friends think that ash production should cease. The result will be less ash for concrete meaning that it will require more cement and therefore concrete will surely cost more. Behind all of this is EPA’s theories of how CO2, the gas we need to breathe and grow plants is warming the planet and that’s going to kill us all.

Obviously, the price of concrete in California has not yet recovered from a more than 60 percent reduction in production from just a few years ago. When project costs get too high, the projects are differed. In the case of California, with the never-ending regulation, litigation and overall extraneous expense, the projects and the jobs go elsewhere.

Lessons Learned from Europe

Holcim is a multi-national cement and aggregate producer based in Switzerland, with large holdings in German and the Middle East. On April 7, 2014, Holcim and (France based) Lafarge announced they had agreed to terms on a “merger of equals” valued at nearly $60 billion.

This company has already experienced the disaster of these green energy rules and is moving with great haste to undue many of their foolish energy schemes.

The Swiss and Germans know the actual energy produced by solar and wind is less than a third of the alleged output. They shut down their nuclear plants due to fears from the partial meltdown of the Japanese Fukushima power plant and they had started to end coal burning power plants because of their belief in the global warming scam. The resulting high energy cost has German industry looking to relocate out of the county.

Energy costs have risen by 30 percent for the average household. Industry is exempted from these increases because the government woke up to the disadvantage it put their industries in on the world market.

What became of Holcim in all of this? They developed a method of burning the fiberglass windmill blades from the unproductive units throughout Germany. They cut the blades shorter on site for easy transport; they even developed a “green” dust reducer to spray when cutting the blades.

The grounded blades are burned in the retained coal power plants and one ton of grindings replaces 1,300 pounds of coal. This is a growth industry; estimated junk blades by 2019 will exceed 15,000 per year—lemonade from lemons.
My point, in case you missed it, is that we, like the Germans, are suffering because elected officials, who are frequently wrong, assisted by bureaucrats who know nothing of the real world, embarked on foolish but predictable outcomes.
Currently our state has a water shortage because of government and we will soon have electricity shortages because of government and ever-increased fuel prices due to government.

Anybody got any lemons?