Waste tyres: Cost effective fuel for cement kilns

REDISA is proving that the use of alternative fuels in cement manufacturing makes good business sense for the industry – while remediating the environment of waste tyres

Key players in the cement industry are currently receiving waste tyres for use in cement kilns from REDISA (the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa).

REDISA is the Plan approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs to clean the country of tyre waste, and is the first legislated Plan globally to deal with an environmental problem.

Waste tyres supplied by REDISA can be utilised as a substitute (through co-processing) for up to 20% of current coal usage. At PPC, indications are that waste tyres will replace 10% of coal usage at its De Hoek plant alone.

Johan Vorster, General Manager – PPC De Hoek says “Energy scarcity in the Western Cape is one of the reasons why high energy users look into the use of alternative fuels. The co-processing of waste in cement kilns not only reduces cost, but also reduces carbon emissions from cement manufacture and reduces the need for non-renewable energy.”

Natal Portland Cement (NPC- InterCement), AfriSam and La Farge are also in support of the substitution, and are currently engaging with REDISA on how the supply of waste tyres for controlled burning in kilns can reduce the overhead costs of coal.

NPC’s Simuma plant in Port Shepstone is one strategic partner working with REDISA. Giovanni Lodetti, Industrial Director, said “Partnering with professional, like minded, solution based organisations is something that we believe is imperative to tackle the issue of waste in South Africa. Co-processing of waste tyres for the cement manufacturing process is one way in which the industry can make its mark in terms of reducing the amount of waste tyres in the environment.”

According to Angus Towell, General Manager of AfriSam’s Ulco Cement operation, working with REDISA has made the shift from coal to waste tyres easier. “This is mainly because the tyre delivery system is well coordinated and we know in advance when our delivery will be made and how many tonnes we will receive, therefore making planning easier. In addition we have found that REDISA is always looking for a ‘win win’ scenario which is ultimately better for all parties involved.”

The ecological benefits of replacing coal with waste tyres as an energy source include conserving resources and reducing waste disposal requirements. The benefit of using waste tyres also means that “additional new business operations can be established and the use of the tyres saves fossil fuels,” said Towell.

According to REDISA CEO Hermann Erdmann, “Given that the world will be home to 5 billion middle class consumers within the next 20 years, natural resources are being placed under increasing stress to meet housing, product and lifestyle demands. To reduce this pressure, REDISA has realised that waste should be looked at differently; not as waste, but as something with value.

It is commendable that the country’s cement industry is realising the value in waste tyres as a fuel source, thereby reducing the necessity of using coal.”

In South Africa REDISA is using this solution to not only clear the environment of waste tyres, but also to lend a helping hand to cement kilns and find a viable solution aimed at reducing rising costs.

Source: African Environment


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