By Hilary Mare
IN a bid to optimise its operations and further create jobs, Ohorongo Cement is intensifying its use of alternative fuels at its production mine.
With cement manufacturing being an energy-intensive process which requires electricity as well as fuels, the cement producer has highlighted that it desires to increase the usage of alternative fuel rate to above 80% by 2020.
Interestingly and having introduced Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which is derived from non-recyclable materials from Rent-A-Drum last year, the company plans to add Tyre Derived Fuel (TDF) to its alternative fuel mix by 2019.
Ohorongo together with a Namibia company, Metallurgical Research and Consulting CC (METRECO) are investigating the use of TDF.
Esther Mbathera, Ohorongo’s Public Relations & Corporate Communication Manager told Confidente that with increasing energy prices and global climate change, the cement industry has been looking for alternatives since the 1970’s.
Ever since then, coal and oil have been gradually replaced with Alternative Fuels, mainly derived from non- recyclable product streams, consisting mainly of rubber, biomass, paper and plastics.
“To date all over Europe, alternative fuels have replaced more than 40% of the fossil fuels in cement factories. Within Europe and the world, Ohorongo’s mother company, Schwenk Zement, is one of the leading companies using more than 90% of Alternative Fuel rate in their four factories in Germany.
“With gas temperatures of around 2,000 degree Celsius, the cement manufacturing process guarantees a complete combustion and destruction of all organic and inorganic substances resulting in no effects on the emissions and product quality,”Mbathera said.
She went on to highlight that the absence of fossil fuels in Namibia which results in large volume of imports prompted Ohorongo cement to foresee the need for alternative fuels back in 2011.
“During the planning and establishment phases of OHORONGO Cement, the usage of alternative fuels was foreseen and the technical equipment including the filtering systems have been designed and built accordingly.
“Additional to the N$3 billion investment for the cement factory, another N$200million was invested for processing, handling and dosing equipment for alternative fuels through Ohorongo’s sister company, Energy for Future,” she said.
In 201, Ohorongo used wood chips produced from encroacher bushes in and around the Otjozondjupa and Oshikoto region close to the Sargberg plant as an alternative fuel. The harvesting and chipping was fully outsourced to local SME companies and farmers.
In 2015, the company went on to use charcoal fines, a waste stream from charcoal processing which was procured from farmers around Otavi, Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Grootfontein and beyond.
In view of the incoming use of TDF, Mbathera explained that the cement factory is equipped with modern systems, which enable the company to use TDF, along with other alternative fuels to fire the kiln, which is key process of cement manufacturing.
“The use of TDF has multiple benefits, including less waste to landfills and river beds, employment creation as well as tremendous benefits for the environment as results of reduced fossil CO2 emissions. This can also assist in the reduction of fuel imports which can positively affect Namibia’s trade balance.
“Several cement plants in Europe are already burning tyres successfully and have demonstrated that the overall environmental impact of using tyres in the fuel mix is reduced when compared with burning coal alone,” Mbathera concluded.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015