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Co-processing: sustainable cement production

World Cement,

The co-processing of alternative fuels provides a solution in terms of reducing fossil fuel dependency as well as a contribution towards the lowering of emissions. It is clear that the co-processing of waste in cement kilns is, in all cases, a recovery operation for the following reasons:

  • The combustible parts of the waste replace fossil fuels.
  • The non-combustible parts of the waste replace raw materials.
  • The energy efficiency in cement kilns is high.
  • The environmental impact is low, as emissions to air are strictly regulated via the Directive on Incineration of Waste and there are no releases to soil (no ash and no fly ash) or to water.

The use of alternative raw materials also has numerous benefits, including a reduced need for quarrying and an improved environmental footprint of such activities. Substitution of clinker in cement is an example of the positive contribution of the European cement industry to resource management.

Alternative materials and co-processing

The use of alternative materials in the cement industry lowers global CO2 emissions and does not have a negative impact on production process emissions, nor on the environmental and technical quality of the final product. Furthermore, co-processing in the cement industry is carried out in a safe and sound manner, thus it does not affect the health and safety of its workers or neighbourhood.

Nonetheless, it should be borne in mind that the degree of co-processing in Europe varies from country to country as a result of:

  • National regulation/waste management.
  • Experience (in the cement industry).
  • Market and local conditions.

The use of alternative resources in certain European countries is low and has a clear potential for growth. The European cement industry is, therefore, keen to collaborate in developing this further.


This issue is covered in more detail in a special publication launched by CEMBUREAU during the European Union’s Sustainable Energy Week earlier this year. Copies are available free of charge from:

Read the article online at:

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