Air quality in Rugby looks set to improve after Cemex UK won permission to use environmentally-friendly Climafuel at its Rugby plant.
Trials of the greener, sustainable fuel – which is derived from household waste – showed significant environmental and sustainability benefits, including a 30 per cent reduction in emissions of oxides of nitrogen, high levels of which can hospitalise those with respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
During a detailed air quality assessment* undertaken in 2004 by consultants on behalf of Rugby Borough Council, a risk of exceeding national air quality objectives was identified because of emissions from the CEMEX cement plant.
But now, the company has been granted permission by the Environment Agency, which regulates the cement industry, to use Climafuel, which will part-replace fossil fuels used in the Rugby kiln. And the company is applying to replace 65 per cent of its current fuel with Climafuel.
“We can’t simply decide we would like to use a different fuel, we have to conduct exhaustive and lengthy trials to prove that doing so is beneficial when compared with traditional fuels,” said CEMEX UK community affairs manager, Ian Southcott.
“We have a whole range of conditions and emission limits that are part of our environmental permit. Using alternative fuels is now commonplace in the industry, but we have to demonstrate on a plant-by-plant basis that there is no ‘net detriment’ to using these fuels compared with traditional fossil fuels such as coal,” he said.
Climafuel is derived from household residual waste and commercial waste. It looks like shredded paper and comprises paper, cardboard, wood, carpet, textiles and plastics that have been through a treatment process. It is a solid, non-hazardous fuel from which recoverable materials have been removed for recycling.
Meanwhile, CEMEX’s planning applications for waste treatment plants at Malpass Farm on the outskirts of Rugby next to the Cemex plant, and in Southam, are due to be considered by county planners on November 17.
Ahead of receiving permission for either site, CEMEX has appointed one of the UK’s leading waste management companies, Waste Recycling Group (WRG), to build and operate the Climafuel plant.
The proposed new plant would significantly assist in diverting waste from landfill, create about 25 full time jobs and a further five in logistics.
Mr. Southcott said “More importantly it will help support and maintain the 700 jobs that rely directly on the success of the cement plant through improving its ability to operate more effectively in a very competitive sector.
“As one of the largest employers in the town and county, this is particularly important for the local economy.”
*The assessment also identified that annual average levels of nitrous dioxide were at risk of being exceeded on a number of major roads in the centre of Rugby town and in Dunchurch due to traffic pollution. But a detailed assessment of particulate matter was completed in 2005 which predicted the national air quality objectives would be met.