Austria - Using plastic as alternative fuel

Burning waste plastics offers environmental benefits but is complex to implement.



To replace fossil fuels (fuel oil, coal, etc.) with alternative fuels such as waste plastics.


The Retznei cement plant in the scenic Styria region of southern Austria produces 500,000 metric tons of cement per year. To reduce production costs, Lafarge Perlmooser decided to increase the proportion of alternative fuels burned by the plant, in this case by using waste plastics. This solution also delivers environmental benefits, such as reduction of global CO2 emissions by preservation of fossil resources. However, plastics contain significant quantities of chlorine (mainly from residual table salt in food packaging), which is detrimental to the operation of the kiln.


Lafarge Perlmooser decided to install a system to extract chlorinated particulates. Hot gas extracted from the furnace is recovered and cooled by addition of air. The chlorinated particulates are then captured in a bag filter and used as a cement admixture. In addition to its proven effectiveness, this solution has the advantage of low capital and maintenance costs.


Thanks to the chlorine bypass system that came on line in July 2001, the combustion of waste plastics will account for 25% of total energy consumption by 2003. The solution offers a number of benefits, such as conservation of fossil fuel resources, enhanced cost effectiveness of the plant, and lower CO2 emissions than with conventional waste treatment options.


Approximately €1.8 million.


Lafarge Perlmooser, Retznei.