The global cement industry will invest more than $3.5 billion for air pollution control systems in 2010, increasing to nearly $5 billion annually by 2015, driven in part by new air pollution standards expected this year in the U.S., according to new reports from McIlvaine Company, reports Environmental Protection.
While almost half of the investments will pay for fabric filters, typically used by new cement plants to control emissions in kiln and transfer and grinding operations, new air pollution standards will drive demand for more than 100 scrubbers for hydrochloric acid (HCl) removal, and the same amount for new baghouses to meet the toxic metal and particulate limits, according to the reports.
The forecasts — World Fabric Filter and Element Markets, Scrubber/Adsorber/Biofilter World Markets, NOx Control World Markets and Electrostatic Precipitator World Markets — also indicate that the standards could force most plants to install regenerative thermal oxidizers to meet total hydrocarbon limits.
Already, lawsuit settlements have resulted in the installation of the first selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units for nitrogen oxide (NOx) control, which is more capital intensive than the selective, non-catalytic approach (SNCR), which involves only injection of urea or ammonia into the hot zones of the system, according to the report.
One recent lawsuit involving Portland cement manufacturer Lafarge North America and two of its subsidiaries resulted in a $5 million civil penalty along with the installation of roughly $170 million in new air pollution control equipment.
Other upgrades cited in the report include electrostatic precipitators for particulate removal or total replacements of these systems, and the addition of new technologies and approaches like a two-stage scrubber system to remove mercury and sulfur dioxide.
Cement plants are also eyeing alternative fuels like renewable biomass sources, particularly in Europe, which is expected to impact the cost and performance of the air pollution control equipment.
The reports also find that regionally, 50 percent of the world’s production of cement is in China, making it a huge consumer of fabric filters. In Europe, as the allowable emissions of acid gases and NOx continues to drop, the number of HC1 removal systems on cement plants continues to rise. As a result, Europe has more of these systems than any other continent.
Cement imports to the United States will be 18 percent of the total in 2020 without new air pollution standards, but will jump to 33 percent with new regulations, according to the Portland Cement Association, reports Environmental Protection.