Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cement Works To Be Shutdown!!

Sorry to disappoint you guys, but it's not the Rugby plant - not yet anyway!

If anyone is wondering why I am spending so much time on these issue, take a look at the puny 100,000 tonne a year Barnstone cement works, in a village, being shut down for breaching air quality limits.

Then pause a while to consider what the 2,000,000 (yes that's right 2 million) tonne a year Rugby plant is doing to the air in Rugby. And where is the only sulphur dioxide monitor located in Rugby? At the Webb Ellis football ground about a kilometre south of the plant. That makes a lot of sense, assuming you do not want to record sulphur from the works, being so far away, and to the south when the wind from the north is less than 5% per year, and predominant wind direction is westerly and south westerly. People in New Bilton frequently complain about smells - is it sulphur they can smell?

Full story here...
Air quality breaches force closure of Lafarge cement kiln Lafarge Cement is to close its kiln at Barnstone after numerous breaches of air quality objectives for sulphur dioxide led the local council to declare an air quality management area around the site.

Lafarge's Barnstone works is thought to be the first industrial process to close as a result of the local air quality management regime.

The relatively small kiln, which has a 100,000 tonnes per year capacity, makes cement for specialist applications. It is now scheduled to close in May, although Lafarge will continue to blend and package cement at the site.

Under local air quality management, councils review pollution levels and declare an air quality management area (AQMA) if objectives for one or more of a range pollutants are likely to be missed. Some 150 AQMAs have been declared, mostly relating to road traffic emissions - and only a handful have been driven by industrial sources (ENDS Report 362, pp 28-31 ).

Barnstone makes a quick-drying calcium sulphate aluminate cement called "Rockfast" for the mining and construction industries. The kiln releases high concentrations of sulphur dioxide. Under Lafarge's IPPC permit, issued by the Environment Agency, the kiln is currently permitted to discharge up to 8,000mg/m3.

In September 2004, Rushcliffe Borough Council concluded a year-long air quality monitoring exercise around the kiln, finding numerous breaches of the three air quality objectives for SO2:

The 15-minute mean objective of 266æg/m3 was exceeded on 1,450 occasions. Peak 15-minute concentrations were more than seven times higher than the objective. From the end of 2005, the objective is not meant to be exceeded more than 35 times per year.

A one-hour mean objective of 350æg/m3 was not to be exceeded more than 24 times per year from the end of 2004. Some 294 breaches were recorded near the Barnstone works.

Finally, a 24-hour mean objective of 125æg/m3 was due to be met from the end of 2004, with no more than three exceedences per year. The council recorded 32 breaches of this standard.

Air quality modelling suggested that people in the village of Barnstone were being exposed to SO2 levels exceeding the objectives. In September 2005, Rushcliffe declared an AQMA for SO2 around the Barnstone works.

As part of the improvement programme under its IPPC permit, Lafarge proposed building a 60-metre chimney stack to improve dispersion at a cost of around £300,000. Modelling suggested this would prevent further air quality breaches. The company also considered fitting flue gas desulphurisation equipment, but this was considered too expensive for the elderly kiln.

However, obtaining planning permission for the stack proved to be a slow process. Meanwhile, the company fell foul of the Agency, which in May 2005 issued a warning letter following breaches of the 15-minute objective.

Announcing its decision to close the kiln, Lafarge issued a statement, saying it "has made the strategic decision to end clinker-making [at Barnstone] after a review of projected costs of operation, including rapidly rising energy and raw material prices, combined with costs of continued environmental compliance."

Lafarge is to invest £20 million in a new gas scrubbing system at its Dunbar site as a result of an improvement programme agreed with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency under IPPC. Lafarge says the system will more than halve SO2 and dust emissions. This will ensure the site complies with local air quality standards and meets the requirements of the EU waste incineration Directive.

Dunbar has relatively high SO2 emissions compared with other UK cement works due to high sulphur levels in the raw materials.

full article linked here but you may have to sign in..
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