Irish Cement employs the use of transportation in three main areas of our business activities:
- Supply of externally sourced raw materials
- Supply of fuels for use in the cement kilns
- Delivery of our products to our customers
In each of these areas, Irish Cement seeks to minimise the social and environmental impacts of transport under our direct control. To this end we have established objectives for improving our performance in each of these areas:
Raw Materials Supply:
The cement manufacturing process requires a mixture of elements and minerals to ensure that the cement products perform to the expected standards of our customers in their end-use applications. To achieve this mixture, some off-site raw materials are required which in some cases are only available from long distances. Irish Cement seeks to maximise the percentage of raw materials sourced on-site or in close proximity to our operating locations resulting in a reduction in the amount of long distance off-site transportation of raw materials.
However, this objective of on-site raw material maximisation must be balanced against the benefits of using externally sourced Alternative Raw Materials where these are available. For example in Limerick Works, Pulverised Fly Ash (PFA) sourced from ESB Moneypoint power station in Co. Clare is used to substitute for quarried shale rock in the cement process. The considerable environmental benefits of diverting PFA from landfill and the displacement of a proportion of shale rock requirements far outweigh the minor impact of transporting the PFA to Limerick Works.
Kiln Fuel Supply:
The traditional fuel supplies for our cement kilns are coal and petcoke which have been historically sourced overseas and require long distance transportation. Irish Cement is implementing an Alternative Fuels initiative which, in addition to many other sustainability benefits, is reducing the reliance on long distance and overseas supply of fossil fuels thereby yielding a reduction in transport effects associated with fuel supply.
Product Delivery to Customers:
Approximately 30% of the cement supplied to our customers is delivered by Irish Cement contracted transportation with the remainder being collected by our customers at our facilities in Platin and Limerick. As Irish Cement is committed to best practice in all aspects of our operations, a code of practice for Hauliers and Drivers has been developed for our transportation contractors in association with other CRH companies in Ireland. This code of practice has been developed in recognition of the role that contracted transportation plays in ensuring a safe and efficient transport operation on company locations, customer sites and on the public roads.
Success in this area is monitored using the following key parameters:
- Where appropriate, maximising the percentage of on-site raw materials whilst maintaining appropriate product quality standards
- Implementation of Alternative Fuels initiatives to displace fossil fuels sourced overseas
- Successful auditing of contracted transport suppliers for compliance with Irish Cement standards
- Highest levels of quality control so as to reduce the requirements for externally sourced raw materials
- Investment in Alternative Fuels technology to maximise the substitution of fossil fuels with sustainable fuel sources
- Auditing and verifying compliance of contracted transportation suppliers
- In 2020 4.3% Alternative raw materials were used in the manufacture of cement clinker.
- This consisted primarily of PFA sourced from Moneypoint power station along with Clay Overburden from the Limestone quarry.
- In 2020 16.2% Alternative raw materials were used in the manufacture of cement clinker.
- This consisted of Clay Overburden from the Limestone quarry.
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