Circular economy

Circular economy meets cement making

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The cement plant of Monselice, Italy plans to replace fossil fuels with a compound of materials that cannot be recycled anymore.

To reduce CO2 emissions and to use a safe locally produced fuel made of common materials that are too worn out to be further recycled but can still be put to good use: this is the project of Monselice’s Cement Plant, in the province of Padova. The plant is trying to create a way for the circular economy into a sector that is traditionally considered problematic with respect to ecosustainability.

This operation falls within the cement plant’s environmental and technological efficiency raising plan. The goal is to partially replace the fossil fuels used for the clinker burning plant (Pet-coke) with Non-Waste Solid Secondary Fuel, in order to lower the plant’s environmental impact, in line with the best practices used in Northern Europe and set forth by both the Italian and EU regulations.

This operation does not in any way modify the nature of the plant, nor does it entail an increase in the working load or a change in the current emission levels. However, it brings about considerable environmental improvements, setting a virtuous example in the field of circular economy.

On the one hand, this initiative will allow the plant to gain back some competitiveness compared to the Italian and European cement plants that have already begun to replace traditional fuels with alternative sources. On the other hand, changing the fuel will lower the plant’s environmental impact because the new fuel is not of fossil origin, as recommended by the COP21 agreement signed at the World Climate Conference.

The project is currently under evaluation by the competent authorities: the authorisation process has already been started. According to the applicable norms, the introduction of a new kind of fuel falls within the category of non-substantial changes.

With respect to the environmental consequences, the adoption of a Solid Secondary Fuel (SSF) will allow for an importsnt reduction of CO2 emissions and therefore for a reduction of the plant’s environmental impact. The benefits of the SSF are that it is a controlled, high-quality and locally produced fuel completely manufactured in the Veneto region. The fuel is made up of commonly used materials that are too worn out to be recycled: thanks to this system they can be included in the production cycle once more. Monselice’s cement plant plans to use a secondary “end of waste” fuel that is classified as product and not as waste. This means that it is listed in Attachment X, Part V of Legislative Decree 152/06 among other kinds of fuels. It will be provided by local manufacturing plants that collect their material in the areas administered by the Veneto Region. The use of the SSF entails the obligation for the plant to respect even stricter pollution emission limits than before. Moreover, the kilns’ high temperatures (2,000°C) guarantee the complete destruction of harmful compounds such as dioxins, which on the contrary cannot be destroyed by other plants such as incinerators (experimental data show superior abatement percentages, almost 100%).

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