M.S. Thesis: Using Engineered Fuels as a Substitute for Fossil Fuels in Cement Production

By Nour Awad

Advisor: Prof. Nickolas J. Themelis, Columbia University
Co-advisors: Marco J. Castaldi, City College of New York

Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science
Columbia University

February 2015

The cement industry produces the most widely used construction material, requires a significant amount of fossil fuels (120 to 180 kg of coal/ton cement), and contributes up to 5% of the global CO2 emissions. The idea of making use of the non-salable waste as a fuel to be used in cement plants, instead of landfilling it, was the driving force behind this feasibility study of replacing fossil fuels with waste-derived alternative fuels. Economic, environmental and operational feasibility studies are necessary to evaluate to what extent such a substitution can be made without affecting cement quality and adverse environmental impacts. This study showed that extensive work is currently being done on this issue around the globe. Specifically in the U.S., over 20% of the 107 operating cement plants have been integrating alternative fuels (AF) to their processes. The contribution of AF in the cement industry increased from 3 to 25% between 1980 and 2013.

Download Thesis (pdf)