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Titan Cement Group - Energy recovery of waste in the cement industry: Installation for Alternative Fuels in Zlatna Panega cement plant, Bulgaria

Added on 22-03-2013


Titan Cement Group



Business challenge

The cement industry is a very energy intensive industry, needing a lot of fuel for the thermal heating of the kiln in the cement plant. Waste is one of the resources that can be used as alternative fuel in a cement plant.

  • Environment: addressing climate change (global warming), resource scarcity and landfill.
  • Society: managing waste in a safe and economical way while at the same time creating jobs and stimulating economical growth.
  • Industry: adhering to the CO2 emission trade schemes, lowering fuel costs.


Societies produce waste, which can be recovered at municipal or national level and after processing, it can be used as fuel (RDF Refuse Derived Fuel) by the cement industry. In August 2011, TITAN cement commissioned an RDF installation within the plant’s premises in Bulgaria (close to Sofia).

Municipal solid waste is supplied by municipalities nearby to the plant, where it is shredded. After this initial phase, the processed material is transported pneumatically to an intermediate silo storage and from there, through a dosing system to the kiln burner where it is used as fuel (waste has different calorific qualities, the challenge is to blend it together into something with uniform burning quality).

A significant advantage of co-processing waste at a temperature of 1,500°, inside the cement plant’s kiln is that due to this very high temperature most organic pollutants are destroyed. Moreover, there is no production of ash. Heavy metals are trapped in non-leachable and inert form in the clinker produced. The alternative, which is to burn waste at an incinerator (incinerators reach 900° temperature), requires a solution for the management of the resulting ash and necessitates hazardous waste landfilling.

To reduce its carbon footprint, TITAN has set a Group-wide target of 10% substitution rate with alternative fuels by 2017. Currently, close to 1.5% reduction is achieved, but the Bulgarian plant has already surpassed 20% substitution.

Community stakeholders have been involved throughout the process. They have proven to be very receptive to this opportunity for a win-win solution to business and society.


Educated communities understand the problem of waste. You have to be very honest, transparent and straightforward with people that live in the communities surrounding the plant regarding the collection, handling and use of waste.  

Open communication regarding health and safety issues are crucial.  In that aspect, TITAN’s experience with alternative fuels in other countries and a proven track record of long term sustainability practices were instrumental to building trust.

Challenges/Lessons learned:


  • Competitiveness increase
  • Fuel Cost Reduction
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions


  • Low consumption of non-renewable sources
  • GHG reduction
  • Land filling of waste avoided
  • No need for ash management


  • Waste management in a safe and economical way
  • New working places
  • Economic growth

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