M.S. Thesis: Energy, Environmental and Greenhouse Gas Effects of Using Alternative Fuels in Cement Production

By Jiao Zhang

Advisor: Prof. Nickolas J. Themelis

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

January 20, 2013

Cement is by far the most widely used man-made material. The global cement industry produces about 3.3 billion tonnes of cement annually. Cement production is energy intensive, with about 200 kg of coal used per tonne of cement. Also, the cement industry generates about 5% of global greenhouse gases (GHG). In order to reduce the use of fossil fuels and GHG emissions, some cement producers have started to use alternative fuels (AF) mostly derived from combustible wastes that cannot be recycled economically. The objective of this study was a quantitative analysis of the energy, environmental and greenhouse gas effects of replacing fossil by alternative fuels in cement production. The use of AF was examined with a focus on this practice at two cement plants, one in the U.S. and the other in Mexico.

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