The World Bank

The World Bank

Cement Manufacturing Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

The preparation of cement involves mining; crushing, and grinding of raw materials (principally limestone and clay); calcining the materials in a rotary kiln; cooling the resulting clinker; mixing the clinker with gypsum; and milling, storing, and bagging the finished cement. The process generates a variety of wastes, including dust, which is captured and recycled to the process.

The process is very energy-intensive, and there are strong incentives for energy conservation. Gases from clinker cooler are used as secondary combustion air. The dry process, using preheaters and precalciners, is both economically and environmentally preferable to the wet process because the energy consumption—200 joules per kilogram (J/kg)—is approximately half that for the wet process.

Certain solid waste products from other industries, such as pulverized fly ash (PFA) from power stations, slag, roasted pyrite residues, and foundry sand, can be used as additives in cement production.

Waste Characteristics

The generation of fine particulates is inherent in the process, but most are recovered and recycled. Approximately 10–20% of the kiln feed can be suspended in the kiln exhaust gases, captured, and returned to the feed. Other sources of dust emissions include the clinker cooler, crushers, grinders, and materials-handling equipment.

When the raw materials have high alkali or chloride content, a portion of the collected dust must be disposed of as solid waste, to avoid alkali buildup. Leaching of the dust to remove the alkali is rarely practiced. Grinding mill operations also result in particulate emissions. Other materials-handling operations, such as conveyors, result in fugitive emissions.

Ambient particulate levels (especially at sizes less than 10 microns) have been clearly demonstrated to be related to health impacts. Gases such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) are formed from the combustion of the fuel (oil and coal) and oxidation of sulfur present in the raw materials, but the highly alkaline conditions in the kiln can absorb up to 90% of the sulfur oxides. Heavy metals may also be present in the raw materials and fuel used and are released in kiln gases. The principal aim of pollution control in this industry is to avoid increasing ambient levels of particulates by minimizing the loads emitted.

Cement kilns, with their high flame temperatures, are sometimes used to burn waste oils, solvents, and other organic wastes. These practices can result in the release of toxic metals and organics. Cement plants are not normally designed to burn wastes, but if such burning is contemplated, technical and environmental acceptability needs to be demonstrated. To avoid the formation of toxic chlorinated organics from the burning of organic wastes, air pollution control devices for such plants should not be operated in the temperature range of 230–400°C. (For further details, see United States1991.)

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