Sephaku Cement is decarbonizing with Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials

Cement plays a fundamental role in construction and is part of a global market worth in excess of $326 billion, but its carbon footprint is undeniably huge. South Africa’s reliance on coal makes it one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. With the government’s commitment to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, it is imperative that companies come on board by investing in clean power and transitioning away from coal.

Supporting this goal, Sephaku Cement have taken a stand and are committed to decarbonizing through the use of alternative fuels and raw materials. Alternative Fuel Resources (AFR’s) such as scrap tyres can be used as a substitute for traditional fuel and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Sephaku Cement has commenced with the use of whole tyres as an AFR in the clinker production process as a partial coal fuel replacement.

Clinker production is the most energy-intensive step in the cement process with the predominant use of coal. The use of waste or alternative fuels and resources (AFRs) such as scrap tyres is used as a substitute for traditional fuel.

The number of end-of-life tyres is growing globally, and many countries are banning the dumping of tyres in landfills, making it a problematic waste to store or destroy. The use of scrap tyres in cement kilns is one of the best solutions for the complete and safe destruction of tyres as there is a simultaneous benefit of destroying waste and creating energy, making the use of scrap tyres both energetically and economically justifiable. Tyres have 25% more calorific value than coal and are available almost everywhere to help in lowering CO2 emissions and they serve as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. DCSA contracted with Resiliant Circular Consulting and AFS Technology, a specialist in automated tyre feeding systems for cement kilns, to build the Sephaku Cement tyre feeding system at the Aganang Plant in Lichtenburg in the North West Province. This system commenced operation in August 2022 with whole tyres being fed continuously, at a rate of up to 3 tyres/min. Phase two will commence in Q1 of 2023 and this will include a fully automated handling system that takes the tyres from the ground floor to the feed elevation utilising a hook elevator, significantly increasing efficiency and productivity.

An added benefit to the entire project is the economic upliftment of the local community. By upskilling and using local community resources in the management of the site storage yard and handling of tyres being fed into a kiln, the community around this Sephaku Cement plant will profit.

This tyre AFR initiative is another step in the decarbonising process of the Aganang Plant, and Sephaku Cement is committed to expanding and will continue to explore further environmentally positive actions that can be taken, to reduce their carbon footprint.

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