Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 CTBUH Visits ACME Plant Site,
 Furthering Recycling Knowledge

July 10, 2013

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CHICAGO - The Life Cycle Assessment of Tall Building Structural Systems research team funded by ArcelorMittal, gained significant understanding of the steel recycling process after a meeting at the ACME Refining Plant in Elgin, IL. Here, the CTBUH research team met PJ Plumeri, Facility Supervisor of the plant. Acme’s eight-acre Elgin facility purchases ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal and ships it by truck and rail for processing at other sites. The purpose of this site visit was to acquire greater knowledge of the steel recycling process, building off of information gained in the previous meeting at the ACME office in Chicago.
Plumeri gave a brief overview of the function of each station of the plant. The torching area has a function that was not previously familiar to the CTBUH research team. Here, steel that could not be sheared to the required 5-by-2-foot (1.5 x 0.60 meter) is melted down. Plumeri explained that about 50 percent of the steel brought into the plant would most likely be torched, while the other 50 percent can be sheared.
Grapple picking up scrap steel
This particular plant had an allotment of diesel-powered machines, including two grapples, two magnets, one shearer, one loader, and one Bobcat. Plumeri estimated that the shearer uses approximately 30-35 gallons (113 to 133 liters) of diesel fuel a day. As significant as energy usage might be at Elgin, the Joliet plant has even more machinery: two to three shearers, seven grapples, and six to seven magnets. Each plant can accurately determine the demand for recycled product based on the pre-set requirement for steel from ACME’s mill customers.
The CTBUH visits ACME. Left to right: Meysam Tabibzadeh, Afshin Zahraee, Dr. Dario Trabucco, PJ Plumeri, Dr. Payam Bahrami
The ACME site visit resulted in revelations that will facilitate a more thorough LCA of tall buildings.
Panoramic Photo of ACME Plant