From Waste to Fuel - From Waste to Fuel
From Waste to Fuel
June 5, 2015
This article is an abridged version of a section from our 2014 Sustainable Development Report. You can read the more detailed report here.
As part of our sustainability efforts, we continuously strive to find ways to meet the demands of a growing urban society without compromising the planet for future generations. Our alternative fuels program is a key part of our sustainable manufacturing.
CEMEX has become the leading user of alternative fuels in the cement industry, replacing traditional fuels like petcoke and coal with those that have a lower carbon emission factor as well as carbon neutral alternatives, such as biomass residues. In 2014, 94 percent of our cement plants processed alternative fuels, avoiding the use of 2.2 million tons of coal. Our efforts have led CEMEX to receive a Global Cemfuels Award for Alternative Fuels-Using Company of the Year for four consecutive years.
Our waste to fuel strategy exemplifies how we apply the ideas that work best across all parts of our business. Building upon the technological and operational success of our most advanced cement plants, we are upgrading our production lines at other plants to bring them up to par. A number of challenges must be considered when substituting with alternative fuels, which is why we developed corporate guidelines in our cement operations that comply with the Cement Sustainability Initiative. We have also implemented an engagement model to help community leaders understand the logistical, technical and financial variables involved in our sourcing of alternative fuels.
In 2013, we started a collaboration with the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University and The City College of New York to execute a year-long study of the life-cycle effects of alternative fuels in cement manufacturing. The study focused on our waste combustion technologies and included multiple visits to our cement plants in the United States and Mexico as well as analysis of operating data. Completed in 2014, the study concluded that the use of fuels derived from municipal solid wastes (MSW) in cement production has no adverse impact on the cement production process or the quality of the product. In fact, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to three tons of CO₂ per ton of MSW-derived fuel used in place of a high-quality coal.
At CEMEX we also dispose of the waste generated by our production processes in accordance to local regulations and seek to monitor, minimize, reuse it in production (and other processes) and recycle all of our wastes when possible. By creating new purposes for materials that traditionally would have entered the landfill, we provide our communities with an effective and secure way to alleviate the social, economic and environmental issues associated with municipal waste management.
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.