Gossman Consulting, Inc.
January 1992

Over the years, Gossman Consulting, Inc. (GCI) has received numerous requests for a white paper providing an industry profile of the use of hazardous waste fuels in cement kilns. Since this profile is so often requested, GCI has decided to make this profile available for your convenience.


The portland cement manufacturing process is an energy intensive chemical manufacturing process that uses large industrial kilns with counter current flow to convert ground limestone and shale or clay into portland cement. This process requires that the materials be gradually heated to an ultimate temperature of approximately 2700°F under oxidizing conditions. Very large quantities of fuel, typically coal, are required to produce these temperatures and the associated chemical reactions which occur. Ash from the fuel becomes incorporated into the chemical make-up of the cement.

During the last fifteen years, the cement industry, under strong competitive pressures from plants overseas, has tested and utilized a wide variety of alternate fuels including refuse derived fuel, tires, auto battery casings, wood chips, rice hulls, and hazardous waste fuel (HWF). In 1980 there were two cement plants using less than ten million gallons of HWF per year. Today, out of over one hundred cement plants nationwide, twenty-four plants use HWF and twenty-seven additional plants are planning on doing so. (See attached tables.) Total usage is estimated at three hundred million gallons per year. The extremely high temperatures and oxidizing conditions necessary for cement production have been proven ideal in the destruction of the organics in HWF, far better than commercial incinerators. Cement kilns have the added benefit of incorporating the ash from the fuel, whether from coal or HWF, into the cement product.

The approximately one hundred cement plants previously mentioned are owned by about forty-one different companies, fifteen of which have at least one plant using HWF. Seven additional companies have plants developing programs. Fuel is supplied to nineteen of the twenty-four current users by six different on-site blender/brokers who have exclusive supply agreements and/or on-site handling and quality control operations at the plants they service. Half of the plants under development will likely be serviced by these blender/brokers. The level of on-site quality control ranges from virtually none to highly sophisticated computerized laboratories performing a wide range of analytical procedures on HWF received.

Currently, of the twenty-four plants burning HWF, three burn directly from trucks or rail cars and the other twenty-one have storage tanks which are regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Substitution levels range from less than five percent to one hundred percent of the fuel required, with annual volumes ranging from approximately two million gallons or more per year to as much as thirty million gallons per year. Twenty-three plants use liquid HWF, four use sludges which are fed using six gallon pails, and four use dry or semi-dry solid HWF. All six broker/blenders either have or are developing the technology to handle solids and/or sludges. At least five plants are also experimenting with inorganic wastes or waste waters as substitutes for raw materials.

Geographically, most of the plants using HWF are concentrated in the Midwest and Plains States. There is only one HWF-using plant on the West Coast and only one on the northern half of the East Coast. There are three in the Southeast and two more in Texas. This has produced an excess of capacity in the Midwest and Plains States. Wastes are shipped from the West Coast to Kansas or Nebraska because of the lack of capacity west of the Rockies.

The continued expansion of both capacity and types of waste handled provides the single largest potential for using hazardous waste and thereby minimizing the need to develop new disposal capacity.

U.S. Hazardous Waste Fuel Burning Cement Kilns

Plant Owner Type of Kiln(s) No.
Louisville, Nebraska Ash Grove Pre-heater 1

Pre-calciner 1
Chanute, Kansas Ash Grove Wet 2
Foreman, Arkansas Ash Grove Wet 3
Hannibal, Missouri Continental Wet 1
Logansport, Indiana ESSROC Wet 2
Harleyville, South Carolina Giant Wet 4
Midlothian, Texas NorthTexas Cement Wet 3
Independence, Kansas Heartland (RC) Straight dry 4
Clarksville, Missouri Holnam Wet 1
Holly Hill, South Carolina Holnam Wet 2
Bath, Pennsylvania Keystone (Giant) Wet 2
Demopolis, Alabama Lafarge Pre-heater 1
Fredonia, Kansas Lafarge Wet 2
Alpena, Michigan Lafarge Straight dry 5
Paulding, Ohio Lafarge Wet 2
Greencastle, Indiana Lonestar Wet 1
Wampum, Pennsylvania Medusa Straight dry 3
Lebec, California National Cement Straight dry 1
Festus, Missouri River (RC) Straight dry 2
Dorado, Puerto Rico San Juan Cement Pre-heater 3
Fairborn, Ohio Southdown Pre-heater 1
Knoxville, Tennessee Southdown Pre-calciner 1
Midlothian, Texas Texas Industries Wet 4

Total Plants-24

U.S. Future* Waste Fuel Burning Cement Kilns

Plant Owner Type of Kiln(s) No.
Blandon, Pennsylvania Allentown (Scancem) Dry 2
Montana City, Montana Ash Grove Wet 1
Nephi, Utah Ash Grove Pre-calciner 1
Atlanta, Georgia Blue Circle Dry 2
Tulsa, Oklahoma Blue Circle Dry 2
Midlothian, Texas BoxCrow Pre-calciner 1
Speed, Indiana ESSROC Dry 1

Pre-heater 1
Bessemer, Pennsylvania ESSROC Wet 2
Nazareth, Pennsylvania ESSROC Pre-heater 1
Theodore, Alabama Holnam (Holderbank) Pre-calciner 1
Saratoga, Arizona Holnam (Holderbank) Wet 2
Artesia, Mississippi Holnam (Holderbank) Wet 1
Three Forks, Montana Holnam (Holderbank) Wet 1
Ada, Oklahoma Holnam (Holderbank) Wet 2
LaSalle, Illinois Illinois (Centex) Pre-heater 1
New Braunfels, Texas Lafarge Pre-calciner 1
Logandale, Nevada Las Vegas ? ?
Cementon, New York Lehigh Wet 1
Cape Girardeau, Missouri Lone Star Pre-calciner 1
Clinchfield, Georgia Medusa Wet 1

Pre-heater 1
Laramie, Wyoming Mountain (Centex) Pre-heater 1
Fernley, Nevada Nevada (Centex) Dry 1

Pre-heater 1
Cloverdale, Virginia Roanoke (Tarmac PLC) Dry 4

Pre-heater 1
Brooksville, Florida Southdown Pre-heater 2
Louisville, Kentucky Southdown Pre-heater 1
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Southdown Wet 1
Odessa, Texas Southdown Dry 1

Pre-heater 1

Future* - Have made public announcements, or have applied for at least some permits needed to burn waste fuels, or have some or all permits but are not yet burning waste fuels.