Cement industry seeking its place in the circular economy


The cement industry is soliciting a place at the table in the European circular economy, according to a new study entitled “Market Opportunities for Use of Alternative Fuels in Cement Plants Across the EU”, drawn up by the consulting firm Ecofys for the European Cement Association Cembureau.

According to the report, Cembureau has determined that the benefits of co-incinerating waste in cement kilns are not widely understood. Co-incineration is “not always considered as a viable option in the design of policies” for the circular economy and might not be sufficiently taken into account in the European Commission’s planned Communication on the energy potential of waste, either (EUWID 8/2016).

Increasing the use of waste processed as secondary recovered fuel (SRF) and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) could provide significant investment cost savings, especially for the construction of conventional waste-to-energy (wte) plants. The European cement industry currently has a substitution rate of about 36 per cent. In other words, European cement kilns replace about 36 per cent of the primary energy sources they need with SRF and RDF.

In the event of the substitution rate further increasing to the technically feasible level of 95 per cent, the EU would not only save about 41 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, but also investment costs of about €15.6bn to build the further waste-to-energy plants that would otherwise be needed. An additional increase in the co-incineration of processed waste at cement mills could thus avoid the construction of another 105 wte facilities with an average throughput of 150,000 tonnes, according to the study.

The full article appears in EUWID Recycling and Waste Management 15/2016. Subscribers to our print and online editions can access the complete text here for free:

Cement industry seeking its place at the table in the European circular economy

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