A greener and more vibrant French cement industry

A greener and more vibrant French cement industry
09 February 2018

This week ICR reported that LafargeHolcim will spend several million euros on its Val d'Azergues cement plant in France. It is the latest action in an ongoing drive by French cement producers to build a more environmentally-friendly industry.

Modernisation spree for Lafarge Holcim
The modernisation of its plants in France will be a key focus of LafargeHolcim's European investment drive. Last May the company announced that it plans to spend EUR300m on modernising its French facilities. The Val d'Azergues plant will see an upgrade of its emissions control systems and in particular, a new kiln baghouse will be installed to replace the 40-year old unit. In February 2018 the plant was closed until 9 March to change the bag filters. In addition, there is the key project of the Martres-Tolosane plant that is set to have work begin in the 3Q18. LafargeHolcim will invest EUR100m to reduce the plant’s CO2 footprint and energy consumption. Upon completion in 2020, the plant is expected to be able to operate with a thermal substitution rate of 80 per cent.

Eqiom's green goods transport
Another cement producer in France, CRH-owned Eqiom,  made a committment to join the "FRET 21 – Loaders commit to the climate" initiative this January. The initiative, launched by the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe) and the Association of Transport and Freight (AUTF) in 2015, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport of goods by six per cent between 2016-2019. Eqiom is the first cement manufacturer in France to join the programme. It will train truck drivers in eco-driving, increase the use of biofuels such as gas or ethanol, as well as reduce travelling empty kilometres by carriers and double rail volumes.

Eqiom has also been investing at its Lumbres plant, where a new baghouse was installed last May. Furthermore, Fives FCB has been awarded the contract to replace the kiln shell and tyre supports of the 42.2m-long Kiln 5 line, which will also see a new clinker cooler installed. 

Vicat starts soil alternatives programme
Meanwhile, Vicat has partnered Serpol in a joint venture called 'Terenvie' to treat oil-polluted soil and use the treated soil as a partial replacement in raw materials for a new brand of cement, 'Vicat Eco-Valorisation'.

New players in France
Meanwhile, the French cement market is expanding with a 3.5 per cent rise in demand to around 18Mt in 2018, according to the French cement association SFIC. This boost has seen new ventures emerge in the industry, keen to win a share in the more vibrant cement market.

One such company is the Cem'In'EU operation, which is building a European network of regional modular cement plants, starting its flagship Alienor Ciments SAS grinding unit at Tonneins. 

"The idea is to provide an alternative to these major suppliers," says Vincent Lefebvre, co-founder of Cem'In' EU. The first grinding plant opens in May 2018 with a capacity of 0.24Mta. Additional grinding plants are expected to follow – three more in France at Chalon-sur-Saône, Portes-lès-Valence and Montreuil-Bellay, as well as units in the UK, Poland, Germany and Switzerland.

Moreover, Cem’In’EU is not alone in taking on the establishment as Ciments de l'Atlas (Addoha group)  opened its 0.6Mta grinding facility Vracs De l'Estuaire, Le Havre, at the end of 2016. The Addoha group's planned 0.4Mta grinding project in Fos-sur-Mer is understood to have been shelved.

Published under Cement News