Cemtech Europe 2011

Cemtech Europe enjoyed a successful Conference and Exhibition between 25-28 September, at the Marriott Hotel, Warsaw, Poland in front of an audience of some 230 international cement professionals.

Held in association with Polish Cement Association (SPC), proceedings began with an opening address by association President, Leonard Palka of Lafarge, who noted: “The conference provides a great forum to exchange experience and opinions” and he hoped that it “would to contribute to the development of new concepts and ideas in our industry in the future.”

Dr Jan Deja, SPC’s Chief Executive, spoke on the outlook for the Polish cements sector. Several new production lines have already come on-stream and with gains in cement consumption forecast, the outlook is even more promising for the sector. Alternative fuels are also on the rise, with heat substitution by secondary fuels reaching 45% in 2010, up from practically zero in 2000. Overall, heat consumption in the Polish cement industry has dropped from 6000kJ/kg of clinker to 3700kJ/kg and many plants now operate with electricity consumption of less than 91kW/t of clinker. The industry’s next challenge will be to lower its CO2/t of clinker from 868kg to 766kg.

Providing an analytical overview of global cement markets, Jean-Christophe Lefèvre-Moulenq of CM-CIC Securities, France, highlighted that the industry had changed profoundly over the last few years ‘’without us realising it.” Explaining how economies were experiencing “a different kind of downturn” – a great contraction – he does not expect to see a recovery until 2013 due to the overhang of debts in the banks and the sovereign debt crisis in countries like Greece and Spain, as well as austerity measures in the EU. Regarding the cement industry, Jean-Christophe highlighted the emergence of new entrants like Anhui Conch, Votorantim and the Eurocement Group who are looking to expand their global presence.

Mikhail Skorokhod, president of Eurocement Group, Russia’s largest cement producer, then detailed his company’s massive US$2bn expansion drive to add 8.1Mta of cement capacity with four new Russian plants. Following completion of these investments, Eurocement’s total domestic volumes will reach 38Mta by 2015. Currently, the group has plants in Ukraine and Uzbekistan as well as Russia and distributes cement in Azerbaijan and Belarus. Speaking about the Russian cement industry, Mr Skorokhod pointed out that Russia had witnessed 20 years of sustainable expansion of cement consumption, averaging a growth rate of 5.6%. For 2011, cement consumption is forecast to grow 11% YoY.

Many other insightful presentations followed including an analysis of the carbon market and its impact on cement companies by Trevor Sikorski of Barclays Capital, and Dr Gunther Walenta’s presentation on ‘Lafarge’s Aether project to reduce CO2 emissions’. Tadeusz Radzieciak’s overview of alternative fuel substitution at Cemex Chelm was perhaps the highlight of the technical programme. The plant, which uses an unusual semi-wet production process, has achieved alternative fuel substitution rates of over 75% by utilizing a range of fuels including RDF, shredded tyres and dry sewage sludge.

Further industry presentations were supported by a technical workshop on co-processing led by Dr Michael Clark, and a plant tour to Cement Ozarow where delegates were able to see new alternative fuel installations at what is Europe’s largest single kiln line.

As usual, the exhibition featured leading suppliers from the global cement industry, and provided a space for delegates to examine the latest technologies in more detail.

On the final evening of the conference a Gala Dinner was held in the prestigious settings of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. Guests enjoyed a spectacular evening with an impressive programme of top performers and entertainers who continued the tradition of making Cemtech an unforgettable experience for every one involved.