- Facility will co-process approximately 2.2 million automobile tires annually to fuel 10% of plant operations with alternative fuel
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer praises Holcim’s “growing, continued investment” in the state
The Holcim Alpena plant (formerly Lafarge) in Michigan is celebrating the opening of its new whole-tire, co-processing facility – a $7.4 million, state-supported initiative that will safely and cleanly convert 22,000 tons of tires per year into energy to help fuel one of the largest cement plants in the United States.
“Holcim has invested more than $100 million in eco-friendly technologies at the Alpena plant in the last 15 years. The tire-derived fuel facility is another strong demonstration of our commitment to reduce emissions and balance the use of traditional and alternative fuels,” said Michael Nixon, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing North for Chicago-based Holcim US. “We are grateful for the State of Michigan’s support for a project that will benefit the environment and push Holcim closer to our net-zero goals.”
State and local representatives joined Holcim Alpena plant employees for a ribbon cutting on Thursday. Two of the plant’s five kilns will now be used to convert approximately 2.2 million automobile tires annually from the Geocycle facility in Coleman. The tires will be sustainably co-processed to create what is known as tire-derived fuel (TDF).
The Alpena Plant will begin using TDF to fuel approximately 10% of its thermal needs for operations. As a result, the plant will sustainably reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and other natural resources.
“Holcim’s growing, continued investment in Michigan will grow our economy and create good-paying jobs in Alpena,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Together we are bringing jobs and investment, creating strong economic opportunity in every region, and ensuring more families and businesses can ‘make it in Michigan.’ We will keep partnering with cutting-edge businesses and lead the future of manufacturing, electrification and clean energy.”
Michigan State Senator Michele Hoitenga and Michigan State Representative Cam Cavitt, whose districts include the plant, attended the Thursday event.
"These improvements to the Holcim Alpena plant are a great example of a public-private partnership,” said Hoitenga. “Holcim will now have the ability to divert our tires from landfills and streams and turn them into the building materials for tomorrow—a great opportunity for Alpena and northeast Michigan."
“The addition of the Holcim TDF program in Alpena is exciting for the entire community,” Cavitt said. “I appreciate their commitment to Alpena and Northeast Michigan, and I look forward to working together in the future.”
Construction of the facility began in August 2022, funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
“As a committed partner in this community for more than a century, we’re excited to provide the Alpena region a tire disposal solution that’s convenient and sustainable,” said Plant Manager Jeff Scott. “The TDF facility prevents tires from serving as mosquito breeding grounds, ending up in the Great Lakes or from being burned improperly and releasing toxic chemicals into the air and ground. It helps us protect our natural resources, reduce emissions and clean up our local area.”
Geocycle LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Holcim, will collect, preprocess and provide a stable source of unrecycled tires to the plant. Geocycle is driving the move towards a circular economy by turning industrial, agricultural and municipal byproducts into alternative fuels and raw materials.
Holcim Alpena's cement is used in construction projects across Michigan, including the Gordie Howe Bridge, Comerica Park, Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena, and services customers throughout the Midwest and Ontario. The cement is used in roads, schools, hospitals, dams and ports, and for decorative applications such as patios, floors, staircases, driveways and pool decks.