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Brazil’s alternative raw materials use among best in world

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World Cement,

Brazilian cement giant Votorantim Cimentos notes that the proportion of alternative raw materials used in Brazilian cement is one of the best in the world, according to data from the Brazilian construction industry association SNIC. In 2013, 91% of all the cement commercialised in Brazil had some additive in addition to the clinker derived from limestone used in cement production.

“Brazil has one of the highest clinker substitution rates in the world and this is due to industry research and the development of technologies to incorporate natural substitutes and even steel industry dejects into cement manufacture,” says Edvaldo Rabelo, Executive Director of Energy, Sustainability and Safety for Votorantim Cimentos. “The addition of alternative raw materials ensures a product as strong and durable as cement made with pure clinker and generates gains, such as reductions in gas emissions, water consumption and the burning of fossil fuels in the production process,” he explains.

The company’s plant in Porto Velho (Rondônia) is an example of this, as it is considered a model in climate change initiatives. In operation since 2009, the unit also saw alternative raw materials as a means of reducing operational costs. The plant is located in the north of Brazil, where there is a lack of limestone for clinker production and the high cost of transporting it from other mines is prohibitive. “This led us to think about producing calcined clay pozzolan at the plant and increasing the proportion of substitutes,” explains Votorantim Cimentos Research and Development manager, Silvia Vieira, who has a PhD in Geology. “After research, the involvement of scientists to establish technical specifications and diverse tests, we developed our own furnace for producing the material.”

The construction of the Porto Velho unit consumed an investment of R$176 million and 1.6 million man/hours of labour. “The investment was very similar to what would be spent on a regular plant, but this unit is superior in eco-efficiency. Our emissions are half those of a regular plant, we spend 35% less energy and consume 40% less water than a conventional factory that produces cement without additives,” Silvia concludes.

Votorantim Cimentos will present the Porto Velho case and its sustainable initiatives at the 2015 CBI Brazil & Latin America Congress, which is taking place this week at the Hotel InterContinental in São Paulo. Edvaldo Rabelo, Global Executive Director of Votorantim Cimentos, talked about the company's sustainability policies on the first day. Silvia Vieira, Research and Development Manager, will comment on the addition of sustainable materials in cement production on the second day of the event.

At the Congress, the Porto Velho plant also received the 2nd annual Dr. Clemente Greco Award for the best project within the cement and lime sector, due to its high eco-efficiency ratings.

Adapted from press release by

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