Valmont Industries, one of the largest producers of utility structures in North America, is opening the doors of its sustainably-focused concrete utility pole manufacturing facility in Bristol, Indiana.
The new facility supports the transition to green energy electrification and is expected to avoid more than 400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2023. The CO2 reductions are thanks to a proprietary concrete mix. Namely, the facility is incorporating a concrete mix which utilizes low GHG producing ingredients, such as steel slag, which may come from furnace-burned steel production. Slag-steel is known to be effective, but has never bene used at scale in utility pole production, Valmont stated.
Plus, Valmont partnered with cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, Ameresco, for an onsite solar array that will offset 100% of the plant’s electricity usage.
The solar array includes 70 single-axis trackers built with Valmont’s Convert solar tracker solution, which produces up to 25% more energy generation than fixed in-place tracking by following the sun. The feature will generate more than 900,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity per year, potentially making the facility Scope II Net Zero, Valmont said in its announcement.
The facility’s grand opening as the concrete industry has worked toward improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Concrete is one of the most-used products in the United States, and its reducing its environmental impact has become a growing focus.
One carbon removal company in the concrete industry, CarbonCure, recently raised $80 million in a funding round to accelerate its product roadmap. The company uses captured carbon dioxide to produce low-carbon concrete mixes that can be used in construction.
“The eco-concrete utility pole product launching at the Bristol facility and its onsite solar array showcase Valmont’s focus as an industrial technology company delivering disruptive technologies to lead and transform the industries we serve,” Aaron Schapper, group president of infrastructure at Valmont, said in a statement. “As part of the long-term need for critical infrastructure investment, we recognize the vital role transmission, distribution and substation structures will play in the energy transition super cycle as well as the importance of sustainability in the products, services and solutions we deliver that conserve resources and improve life. How we deliver is just as important as what we deliver.”
Valmont stated it plans to transition all six of its concrete utility pole facilities to the eco-concrete mixture within the next 12 months, potentially avoiding more than 12,000 tons of CO2 avoidance annually.
The new facility built in Bristol is the first built in the northeast and midwest regions of the country, where demand is surging, according to Valmont. The facility will ramp up to full operations by 2025.