Visit to Hope Cement Works 2017

Earlier this year, Cements@Sheffield researchers visited Hope Cement Works.

Hope visit

Situated in the centre of the Peak District National Park (Derbyshire), Hope Cement Works is currently part of the Breedon Group and employs 165 people. It produces approximately 1.5 million tonnes of cement per year (approximately 0.05% of the world’s cement production!). Cement manufacture is the world’s third largest contributor of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which promote climate change by gradually warming our planet; these industrial emissions are exceeded only by electricity generation and deforestation. Cement production has such a high carbon dioxide count mainly because cement is the second most consumed commodity in the world after water (which is also mixed with cement to make it set and harden). Due to this large demand for cement, there is a lot of pressure on the industry to reduce its environmental burden.

The morning started with a health and safety briefing, presentations from both HOPE Cement Works and the University of Sheffield personnel followed by a visit to the limestone quarry. After lunch, Cements@Sheffield researchers visited the Hope Cement Works laboratories, where the reliance of Hope Cement Works on X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence techniques was heavily stressed. After touring the labs, Cements@Sheffield researchers were given a tour of the plant, stopping at and discussing most of the key unit operations.

Participants included researchers from Cements@Sheffield, the wider Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at The University of Sheffield. Here is what some of the participants had to say about the event:

Zhijun Tan (Research Associate, Cements@Sheffield)
"It is a fantastic trip. The first time for me to know the industrial production line of Portland cement. This trip bridges my academia research with the industrial, giving me a chance to know what they are thinking and doing, what challenges the industry are facing."

Sarah Kearney (PhD candidate, Cements@Sheffield)
“I really enjoyed it. HOPE were really hospitable and very accommodating – we asked a lot of questions and they were very happy to answer all of them. The tours (quarry/kilns) were my highlight; they allowed me to develop a greater understanding of how cement formulations are monitored to ensure chemical stability of supply”

Neil Lowrie (Business Development Manager, Department of Materials Science and Engineering)
"It was a very interesting tour. I learned a lot about cement production in just a few hours, as well as the challenges of keeping a plant of this size fully operational"

Niki Trochoutsou (PhD candidate, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering)
"The most impressive thing, though, was the respect Hope Cement factory shows to the environment: rehabilitation plans during and after extraction, biodiversity insurance, use of alternative fuels such as solid waste fuel and burning tire chips are implemented in the cement process aiming at the preservation of our environment and the well-being of its habitats. Thanks Hope Cement for this unique experience!"

Katrin Thompson (Learning Technologist, Department of Materials Science and Engineering)
"I think everybody got something out of it – a very interesting day. I love big, noisy and dirty machinery!"

Theodore Hanein (Research Associate, Cements@Sheffield)
“It is always a pleasure to meet nice people and discuss about cement in a pleasant environment. During the visit I also developed new ideas for future research projects!”

Edward Cavanagh (Production Manager, HOPE Cement Works)
“I’m glad you all appeared to enjoy it – it’s generally a pleasure when we see people willing to engage.”

A special thanks goes to Dr Theodore Hanein for organising the visit, Eunice Lawton from Think Ahead and Stewart Husband from the Engineering Research Society at the University of Sheffield for arranging funding for the trip, and all personnel at HOPE for their time, willingness to discuss their work and of course for the yummy lunch!

Read more about this visit in a blog written by Dr Theodore Hanein here.

Back to Cements@Sheffield.