Market opportunities for use of alternative fuels in cement plants across the EU

There is no technical limitation at cement plants to increase the share of alternative fuels from 36% now to 95% EU-wide. In a recent study for Cembureau, Ecofys has investigated how the European cement industry could contribute to Europe’s waste-to-energy capacity. Accelerating the uptake of alternative fuels in the cement industry can contribute to three major ambitions of the EU: reduce the amount of landfilled waste, abate climate change and strive for a circular economy. The European Commission aims to improve the potential of Waste-to-Energy operations in the EU. Ecofys has analysed the opportunities of co-processing waste in cement kilns as a waste-to-energy option and identified corresponding barriers and drivers. Focussing on Greece, Poland and Germany, Ecofys carried out three case studies as a display of different levels of maturity in terms of waste management and co-processing rates. According to the study, there is a large potential to increase the uptake of alternative fuels in the cement industry. Yet to do so will require a mature waste infrastructure across all EU Member States to collect, separate and process the waste.