In a move which will help reduce its carbon footprint and control escalating energy costs, Lafarge Cement UK has announced it is applying to the Environment Agency for permission to use Processed Sewage Pellets (PSP) as an additional waste-derived fuel at its Hope Works in Derbyshire.
The Works already uses a range of traditional fuels including coal, as well as sustainable alternatives, scrap tyre chips and Meat and Bone Meal (MBM). Now the company has announced that it will be applying for a permit to also use PSP - a fuel classed as ‘carbon neutral biomass’1.
Hope Works manager Ashley Bryan explains what PSP is and how they plan to use it: "These pellets are made from the sludge that remains after sewage treatment. (Almost a million tonnes of this sludge is generated in the UK each year.) The sludge is then further heat-treated, making it as harmless as garden soil. In some parts of the country this material is used as an agricultural fertiliser. What we offer is a route to use this material in a very positive way, gaining valuable energy from a waste.
"Waste-derived fuels continue to offer many benefits to our business - they help us maintain our environmental performance, reduce our carbon emissions and manage our very high energy costs. At a time like this when we are operating in a very tough market, this fuel offers us an economically viable and environmentally beneficial solution.
"PSP would be used as an additional option for a waste-derived, sustainable fuel for our process, alongside those for which we already have permits. PSP can be incorporated without any major change to our plant as it can be fed into our system using the equipment already established for MBM. This makes it even more attractive as a fuel option for Hope Works."
PSP is already used as an effective fuel in the cement-making process in many countries including Austria, Spain, France and South Korea. It has also been used for over six years at Hope Works’ sister plant in Cauldon, Staffordshire.
It is estimated that by using 30,000t of PSP each year, 20,000t of coal will be replaced (which is enough coal to power around 6,000 homes for a year); and emissions of CO2 will be reduced by approximately 50,000t, compared with burning fossil fuels.
The company is consulting with the local community around Hope to find out people’s views on the plans to use PSP.