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Cement industry set to spend US$ 3.5 billion on air pollution control

World Cement,

The cement industry is gearing itself up for a major spend on air pollution control during 2010. New forecasts from The McIlvaine Company, a market research company based in Northfield, Illinois, USA, predicts that US$3 billion will be invested in air pollution control systems this year, of which almost 50% will be for fabric filters. By 2015, expenditures will rise to just under US$5 billion annually. Part of the increase will be due to the new hazardous air pollutant standards to come into force in June of this year. These standards are likely to result in over 100 scrubbers for HCl removal and an equal number of new baghouses will be needed to meet the toxic metal and particulate limits.

The report points out that fabric filters have become the choice for new cement plants to control emissions from the kiln as well as the various transfer and grinding operations. With 50% of the world’s production of cement and continuous expansion of infrastructure, China has become a very large market for fabric filters.

Mercury control expenditures are likely to rise. It is estimated that Chinese mercury emissions from cement plants are 75 tpa. Chinese coal-fired power plants emit close to 100 tpa of mercury. This contrasts with US cement plants which emit approximately 15 t, and US coal plants with emissions of 50 t.

With the introduction of more stringent emission limits, many plants operating electrostatic precipitators are investing in upgrades. This can involve replacing the conventional transformer-rectifiers with switch mode power supplies

The report highlights the big opportunity for innovative technology. The variation, in the level of pollutants from one plant to another, dictates that solutions be tailored to individual plant needs. For example one plant may need to remove 99% of the mercury due to the fact that the local limestone has an unusually high mercury content. Importing limestone from some distance would not be economical. A new approach will be needed, one of which may be the two-stage scrubber system. The first stage is the HCL scrubber and the second stage is the SO2  scrubber.

With climate change initiatives there is of course continuing interest in alternative fuels for cement plants. European cement manufacturers are pursuing renewable biomass sources such as switchgas. As cement producers appreciate, fuel selection impacts the cost and performance of air pollution control equipment.

World Fabric Filter and Element Markets
Scrubber/Adsorber/Biofilter World Markets
NOx Control World Markets
Electrostatic Precipitator World Markets
(All from The McIlvaine Company)

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