Cement plants can play a vital role in communities, conserving natural resources by utilizing waste for their production while at the same time recovering the energy content of the materials.
By-products from domestic, industrial, or agricultural sources can be used as fuels, partially replacing traditional fossil fuels. This reduces the associated environmental impacts of finding, producing, transporting and burning these fuels. It also decreases the loads on landfills and incinerators and their environmental impacts, including: potential groundwater pollution, methane generation and hazardous ash residues.
The mining and power generation industries produce mineral by-products that can be used in cement or concrete production. Biomass can also be used as a partial fuel substitute, which helps reduce CO2 emissions.
In some countries, cement kilns are being used as an integral part of the waste management infrastructure. They can provide energy and materials recovery, offering safe disposal options for many different types of waste. Particularly in developing nations, which may have little or no waste management infrastructure, properly designed and operated cement kilns can provide a practical, cost-effective and environmentally effective alternative to landfill and incineration.
The CSI published its updated Guidelines for Co-Processing Fuels and Raw Materials in Cement Manufacturing in 2014. These guidelines reflect the cement industry's collective expertise and experience in co-processing, developed over the past 25 years. They also incorporate valuable input from a range of external stakeholder groups from industry, NGOs, academia and regulatory bodies.
The CSI will continue to work with stakeholders to identify the proper designs and operational and maintenance practices that make co-processing waste a safe and eco-efficient operation.