Cemex looking to build ‘green fuel’ production plant

Cemex looking to build ‘green fuel’ production plant
Published: 07 August 2008

Cemex has announced plans for a new UK£35m processing plant that would receive residual household and commercial waste and transform it into a sustainable ‘green fuel’, referred to by the company as Climafuel.

The new plant, which could divert up to 75% of Warwickshire’s future waste from landfill and turn it into a valuable resource for cement-making, could be built at the company’s former works site in Southam or adjacent to the current cement plant in Rugby.

Provided permission is granted, the Climafuel plant would have the capacity to receive around 300,000 tonnes of local waste per annum, allowing it to satisfy approximately 60% of Rugby works’ Climafuel needs.

The proposed Climafuel production process would take place in fully enclosed buildings and use mechanical biological treatment technology (MBT), which accelerates the work of natural bacteria within the waste, to produce a dry and clean material that burns well.

‘Reuse and recycling will always be the first choice, but MBT is a complimentary option,’ explained Cemex UK’s sustainability director, Andrew Spencer. ‘It provides a more sustainable solution to the significant and increasing challenge of reducing UK landfill for non-recyclable material.’

The Climafuel produced at the proposed plant could contain at least 50% carbon-neutral biomass and displace nearly 180,000t of fossil fuel CO2 in Rugby (equivalent to the annual emissions from 72,000 cars), thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the cement-making process.

Alternative fuels, such as Climafuel, are also more economical than fossil fuels and have other significant environmental benefits, including a marked reduction in emissions of oxides of nitrogen, which, in Rugby, have already been reduced by more than 40% since the plant introduced chipped tyres as a fuel in 2005.

Cemex are submitting two applications to Warwickshire County Council, one for a Climafuel plant at Southam, and one for a plant in Rugby. While only one plant would be built, the company says these alternatives, both of which are equally suitable, will give the Council and local residents the opportunity to decide on the option that best matches local needs and complements the county’s future waste strategy.

If planning permission is granted, Cemex say they plan to enter into an agreement with a specialist waste-management company to run the plant, which could be operational by 2010.