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Nowadays, tire-derived fuel is gaining popularity as an alternative fuel in cement production. Transition to tires is caused not only by high traditional fuel prices, but also by environmental constraints. In this article, we describe Egypt’s cement industry transition to alternative fuels.

Egypt is the 10th largest cement-producing country in the world and also the country is a huge cement consumer (53.9 Mt in 2015). The demand for cement is mainly driven by large national projects including roads, housing and other infrastructure. However, to accommodate to recent constrictions in fossil fuel availability and rising prices, Egypt’s cement industry had to turn to alternative fuels and increased energy efficiency.

In Egypt, where complete and high-level infrastructure is not yet available, the cement industry has the chance to support society via the implementation of waste management solutions in which the use of refuse derived fuels (RDF) is a major factor. It has the dual goals of reducing environmental impacts from fossil fuel use and creating much-needed local jobs.

Annually, Egypt produces some 50 million metric tons of waste, half of which is agricultural waste that is easily applied in cement production. Of course, the amount of crops’ residues depends on the agricultural season.

Currently most of Egypt’s cement plants rely on gas. The first refuse-derived fuel (RDF) production facility in an Egyptian cement plant was opened in February 2014 at Suez Cement (Italcement). Since then, more plants appeared and they use fuels produced from municipal solid waste and tires delivered by specialized collection and treatment companies. Assiut Cement (Cemex) recently installed a tire shredding machine and it is going to further increase plant’s alternative fuel substitution rates as well as calorific value of its energy mix. Several other cement plants in Egypt, namely Lafarge Holcim, Titan, National Cement, Arabian Cement Company, Beni Suef and others, are working hard to develop supply chains and the necessary technical equipment for the production of RDF, its storage, dosing, feeding, etc.

Moreover, in July 2016 numerous alternative fuel projects were launched.

Over the industry, the substitution rate grows and some companies, e.g. Lafarge Egypt, managed to achieve 25% substitution rate. Also, those companies keep signing major contracts to manage and operate existing RDF platforms in big cities.

The Egyptian cement industry can play a significant role in the development of a necessary sustainable waste and end of life tire management for the country. At the same time, it would create a lot of new jobs. Government will play a significant role in creating the legal and economic structure for the successful development of tire-derived and alternative fuels.

Today, cement industries in many countries around the world start using end of life tires as an alternative fuel. Yet another examples are Ireland (Irish Cement’s plant in Limerick) and Malaysia (CMS grinding plant in Mambong).

These events may give a strong impetus to support tire recycling industry – both recyclers and equipment manufacturers.

Article source: Global Cement