Traditionally the cement industry is synonymous with a very high energy (fossil fuel) use. More and more though, there are technologies and systems that make renewable energy such as biomass more attractive and feasible.
Also, improvements both to manufacturing processes and behavior can result in energy reduction in both our factories and offices. Lafarge is committed to pursuing this path as part of our sustainable development strategy.
The basic raw materials used to make our products are not renewable. Therefore it is our responsibility to be efficient in the use of these materials and conserve these natural resources as best we can. One way to conserve natural resources is through recycling and design for deconstruction, thereby saving the use of virgin raw materials.
Today, in the area of aggregates, many impediments to recycling exist. Lafarge, by creating a demand for recycled aggregate through setting targets for both aggregate production from recycle materials and use of recycled materials in ready-mix, will move this market by:
In the same way these by-products and wastes can become raw materials, some byproducts can make an excellent fuel for cement kilns, substituting for fossil fuel. The cement plant process operates at a very high temperature compared to boilers or incinerators and is therefore able to combust difficult to burn fuels with no increase in emissions compared to fossil fuels.
Last update on 05/06/2013
FAQ 1 : Industrial ecology in Lafarge 2012 Sustainability Reporting
FAQ 2 : Recycling and using alternative products
Wherever the necessary infrastructures exist, Lafarge:
- recycles construction materials,
- replaces natural resources with by-products from other industries,
- replaces fossil fuels with nontoxic alternative fuels, such as biomass and industrial and agricultural waste.
The Group is committed to limiting the use of natural resources in all of its operations:
- Alternative fuels, such as biomass, account for 13% of the Group's total fuel uses (versus 12% in 2010);
- 69% of Lafarge plants use alternative fuels, allowing the Group to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions per ton of cement by 23.4%;
- Since 2009, the use of solid waste as fuel for the Group's cement plants increased by 30%.
FAQ 3 : Alternative materials
Lafarge is committed to reduce the amount of clinker,
responsible for most of the CO2 emissions generated by the manufacturing of
cement, by using alternatives, called cement admixtures.
Cement admixtures may be:
- pozzolanic rock;
- waste products from other industries (slag from steel-industry blast furnaces or fly ash from coal-fired power plants).
In 2011, the Group increased the total materials substitution by 2.3 million tons, mainly due to finished products substitutes, such as slag and fly ash. Material substitution is a major lever for reducing CO2 emissions.
FAQ 4 : Implementing Clean Development Mechanisms
Lafarge conducts a number of projects aimed at
implementing Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.
Three projects have already been recognized by the CDM Executive Committee:
- in Morocco, the Tetouan wind farm supplies 50% of the electricity used by the local Lafarge cement plant,
- in Malaysia, 5% of the thermal energy for the Rawang and Kanthan cement plants comes from biomass,
- in India, fly ash from conventional power plants is recycled for use in cement.
These 3 Clean Development Mechanisms provide annual savings of 160,000 tons of CO2, an environmental benefit equivalent to planting 10.6 million trees per year!
A 4th project was approved by the CDM Executive Committee early 2011: in the Philippines, the Teresa cement plant will recover the waste heat released during the production of cement to transform it into electricity, covering 31% of the plant's energy requirements. The greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by almost 12,000 tonnes per year.