PPC Cement increases “green” footprint through new initiative

30 September 2015

An innovative tyre-burning initiative at PPC’s De Hoek plant in the Western Cape has demonstrated the viability of burning waste tyres

as an alternative to coal for cement production. The project, which will enable De Hoek kiln 6 to burn up to three tyres per minute, will reduce the plant’s coal usage by an estimated 15% while significantly reducing nitrous emissions.

It will also decrease landfill requirements, ensuring positive and sustainable environmental impact. PPC originally started exploring the viability of tyre-burning as far back as 2007. At that stage, however, the company was unable to secure a reliable supply of tyres. PPC continued to connect with various players in the market – including with REDISA (the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa), various provincial authorities and environmental groups.

From 2014 onwards, this started yielding real results, with viable solutions to both sustainable supply and transport logistics being found.

“Once our supply issue had been resolved, we were able to develop an effective system to implement at the plant,” explains Johan Vorster, GM at PPC De Hoek. “We drew on internationally-recognised technology and equipment for the process.

When the system has been fully automated, whole tyres will be transported directly into the riser section of kiln 6.”

When fully commissioned, the automated system will feed one tyre every 10 – 20 seconds. into the kiln. The tyres will be delivered by REDISA to the plant as part of the agreement.

“We’re looking forward to implementing the same system in our DHK 5 kiln and at other PPC plants once this project is finalised,” says Vorster. “In that way, we’ll be able to increase our green footprint both organically and sustainably.

We also hope that by championing this initiative, we’ll inspire other companies to explore similarly viable alternative energy solutions so that, as a sector, we’re able to collectively reduce our environmental impact.”

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