The environment will benefit from a government decision to allow Holcim to use alternative fuels at its cement plant outside Kimberley, South Africa, the company said on Wednesday. Holcim Alternative Fuels manager Johan Schoonraad said replacing traditional fossil fuels such as coal with chemically similar waste materials such as tyres, rubber, paper sludge, plastics, solvents, industrial tars and sludge is common practice throughout the world. "Appropriate waste streams will significantly reduce coal usage," said Schoonraad.
The Northern Cape department of tourism, environment and conservation approved Holcim South Africa’s application to use waste-derived fuels in its cement kiln at the Ulco plant near Kimberley in the Dikgatlong municipality. Schoonraad said the decision will aid the cement company’s focus on sustainable development and its drive to find alternative fuels to replace coal currently used in the manufacture of cement.
Schoonraad said Holcim’s initiative is in line with the government’s National Waste Management Strategy, which focuses on waste prevention, waste minimisation and recovery, and reuse of waste where possible. The government is expected to announce a tyre-recycling scheme in 2006 that would support the use of scrap tyres as fuel in cement kilns where these tyres could otherwise be recycled or reused. Meanwhile, Holcim will continue to investigate the possible use of waste materials as fuel at its Dudfield cement plant near Lichtenburg in the North West province. Emissions monitoring and control systems have already been upgraded to allow for alternative fuel use at one of the two cement kilns at Dudfield. The other will be completed in about three months’ time. (Mail and Guardian, South Africa)