Cemex used 25 percent alternative fuels in its cement production in 2011, an achievement that allowed the company to avoid the use of nearly 2 million tons of coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.8 million tons.
As part of its low-carbon strategy, Cemex launched an initiative in 2005 to reduce its use of fossil fuels in cement production. The company has invested more than $175 million to adjust its production process and install equipment to prepare, handle and feed alternative fuels into its cement kilns.
The company uses waste as an alternative fuel for its kilns. The process begins by sorting industrial, commercial and household waste. The recoverable materials are removed for recycling. The remaining waste is treated to remove biodegradable matter. The material in then burned in the cement kilns, which Cemex says reduces emissions and diverts waste from landfills.
Cemex’s alternative fuels strategy aims decrease energy costs as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce landfill use.
The firm has set a target of 35 percent alternative fuel substitution rate in cement production by 2015. The goal is part of a larger seven-priority plan that aims to cut carbon emissions, reduce the environmental impact of its production process, conserve biodiversity within and around its plant sites, optimize water use and recycle waste.
The company reported in May that it reduced CO2 net emissions per ton of cement produced, relative to its 1990 baseline, by 22.7 percent. It is now targeting a 25 percent emissions reduction by 2015.
Cemex, along with Staples, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson and other major corporations, joined think tank World Resource Institute last year to start an initiative to identify and advance sustainability solutions for business. The Next Practice Collaborative focuses on business and finance models for low-carbon economic growth in major markets like the US, China, Mexico, India and Brazil.
Photo of cement plant in Costa Rica by Cemex