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VDZ: Reduced emissions thanks to alternative raw materials and fuels

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World Cement,

According to VDZ, the recently published "Environmental data of the German Cement Industry 2014" is further proof of the efforts made by the German cement industry over the past year to make production as resource-efficient as possible and to further reduce emissions of relevance to the environment and the climate. According to Dr. Martin Schneider, General Manager of the German Cement Works Association, VDZ: "Particular mention should be made of the fact that the producers are doing a lot to preserve natural resources through the increased use of alternative raw materials and fuels".

In 2014 the specific energy-related CO2 emissions per t of cement produced amounted on average to 170 kg of carbon dioxide, a figure slightly lower than in the previous year (2013: 173 kg). This latest reduction can be attributed to further process technology optimisation and a lowering of the clinker content of the cement thanks to the use of other main constituents such as blast furnace slag (granulated slag).

The increasing use of alternative fuels is of particular importance for the cement industry: The proportion of the fuel energy requirement accounted for by these rose again in 2014, reaching a figure of more than 63%. Substitute products were employed in place of approximately 2.2 million t of coal, thus saving around 2.1 million t of CO2 as compared to the use of conventional hard coal. In this way, the German cement industry again made a contribution to the preservation of natural resources and the practical utilisation of substances from other processes in keeping with the German Recycling and Wastes Act in 2014.

A further reduction in the dust emissions of the cement works has been achieved over the past few years, with today's average figure being in the region of 10 to 20 mg/m³. Thanks to the stabilisation and ongoing optimisation of plant operation it also proved possible to again lower the level of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

In 2014 there were also ten plants with staged combustion in operation, as well as 36 employing SNCR processes and 2 using SCR technology. New, tighter limit values for nitrogen oxides and ammonia will nevertheless represent a substantial challenge for the German cement manufacturers over the next few years.

The regularly published "Environmental data of the German Cement Industry" are based on the results of continuous emission monitoring and around 2000 single measurements each year. Collection of the data is supported by all member companies of VDZ, making it representative of the entire German cement industry.

20 German cement manufacturers with a total of 50 cement works are members of the German Cement Works Association. The sector generates an annual turnover of around €2.5 billion in Germany and employs approx. 7900 people. Since the association was established more than 135 years ago, its research work has helped to make cement production both competitive and ecological and contributed towards the development of high-quality concrete construction methods.

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