The use of continuously-monitored Alternative fuels in the cement industry has been long acknowledged as an environmentally-friendly method of waste recycling. High temperatures, a residue-free combustion as well as reduction of climate-harming greenhouse gases, especially CO2 and methane gases from avoided waste tipping, secure environmentally-friendly recycling. Biomass derived fuels such as rice husks, olive kernel, wood as well as refuse derived fuels made from specified fractions of Municipal Solid Wastes, industrial wastes as well as construction and demolition wastes are environmentally friendly used to substitute fossil fuels.

Since the recognition by the EU that the use of secondary fuels and raw materials in the cement industry is seen as ‘recycling’ and not as ‘disposal’, an international legal basis was created. Ever since the climate change has become a main topic for discussion in the boardrooms of cement companies, the idea of sustainable development has become a hot topic.

Waste materials can be used as alternative fuels provided that they do not contain harmful substances. In particular the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorine, sulphur and heavy metals is either specifically precluded, or limited, in line with State or local regulations. Alternative fuels are only used in cement plants when their composition is in compliance with local regulations.

       The basic principles for the use of Alternative Fuels are as follows:
  • The chemical quality of the fuel must meet regulatory standards, assuring environmental protection;
  • The calorific value of the fuel must be stable enough to allow control of the supply of energy to the kiln, as the achievement of homogeneous clinker requires a well controlled combustion process;
  • The physical form of the fuel must allow easy handling of the material for transportation and a controlled flow into the kiln;
  • The fuels must not introduce chemical species into the clinker production process that might be deleterious to the stability of the process or the performance of the product.
Apart from alternative fuels, more and more alternative raw materials are used, e.g. as a calcium provider. This is how MVW Lechtenberg has already realised a few
Projects in which ‘curious’ raw materials are also used, such as egg shells from egg liquid production or mussel shells.

Alternative replacement materials are gaining ever more importance as additives, e.g. in nitrogen reduction, MVW Lechtenberg successfully used, as an example, poultry litter or biological waste materials from the pharmaceutical industry in the cement industry. Furthermore, fixer and developer from the photographic industry are used as a matter of course for denitrification in the cement industry

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