Monday, February 20, 2006

Cement industry unsustainable.

The Cement Industry has vowed to have a year on year increase in sales of 5%, but how does this "aim" sit in terms of the Environment, global warming and the production of Greenhouse gases? And how does it fit with the Government's declared policy?

In order to please the Shareholders they have to make more money: i.e. more cement and more greenhouse gas.

Does anyone know how much Carbon Dioxide the Cemex Rugby plant gives out each year? Apparently approximately 1,660,000 tonnes!

According to RMC:
"During the manufacture of cement, CO2, is generated from three sources:
- combustion of fuel in the kiln, to maintain the required kiln temperature
- decarbonising of limestone within the kiln
- indirectly from the use of electricity in installations such as grinding mills

A total of 0.83 tonnes of CO2 is emitted per tonne of finished product (80% clinker) and is made up as follows:
- CO2 from decarbonising is 0.45 tonne per tonne of cement;
- CO2 from the combustion of coal is 0.40 tonne per tonne of cement
- electricity produced in coal-fired power plants to operate on-site installations contributes a further 0.1 tonne of CO2 per tonne of cement.

According to these figures the Cemex Rugby plant, making approximately 2 million tonnes of cement a year would give out 1,660,000 tonnes of CO2. It would appear that this does not take into account the associated transport costs of moving all this material.

The Environment Agency in its Decision Document for the Cemex plant in which they try to justify why they have allowed a Variation to the IPPC Permit increasing the VOC/TOCs from 10 mg/m3 to 50/75mg/m3 say that this is because Cemex now want to use/mill more than the usual 8 hours a day of Welsh coal. Welsh Coal is, so they say, high in methane, which is released during the milling process, and so there has to be a 5 to 7.5 fold increase in VOC/TOC. This is not however limited to when Welsh coal is being milled, and further alternative reports seem to indicate the increase is in fact to allow for the burning of waste fuels, and may not be "only methane" as the Agency is suggesting - and may in fact be VOCs! This is a great concern to Rugby residents on whom the plume grounds. Anyway, this needs father investigation, but in the meantime the Agency have this little gem:

Page 31 Permit BL7248 Variation no: UP3435SV Decision Document:

"The impact on Climate Change of the emission of additional methane was raised by Rugby Borough Council. A rough calculation suggests that the maximum additional amount of methane that will be emitted as a result of these proposals is in the order of 200 tonnes per annum. This is not significant, and to put it into perspective is roughly equivalent to the emissions of 4,000 tonnes per annum of CO2. This equates approximately to every motorised vehicle in the UK travelling one mile per annum. None of this takes into account the additional impact of transporting coal from South Africa instead of Wales."

So here is your starter question: how many miles can all the "motorised vehicles in the UK travel" to give out the same emissions of Carbon dioxide as the Cemex Rugby plant?

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