Use of biomass toward low-carbon industry – challenges and prospects
Serbia’s cement industry is ready to increase the use of biomass as fuel, which would have a positive impact on reducing CO2 emissions, according to a roundtable organized by UNECOOP with the support of the Association of the Cement Industry of Serbia (CIS) and the Faculty of Applied Ecology – Futura.
The roundtable on the role of biomass in decarbonizing the cement industry was organized by UNECOOP, an environmental association based in Paraćin, with the support of the Association of the Cement Industry of Serbia (CIS) and the Faculty of Applied Ecology – Futura, with the aim of raising the awareness of the local community concerning the multiple benefits of using biomass as an alternative fuel in cement production processes, presenting the current situation and biomass use development prospects, and proposing sustainable regulatory solutions for biomass management in Serbia.
The roundtable gathered climate change and waste management experts from a number of institutions, organizations, and the business community, who exchanged experiences on options and ways of using biomass at cement plants, as well as potential obstacles to raising the level of fossil fuel substitution with biomass.
According to Dejana Milinković, director of the Association of the Cement Industry of Serbia (CIS), sources of waste material used as fuel in cement production need to be stable and secure, of homogenous composition, and properly prepared in order to meet the technological and environmental requirements of the cement production processes.
“The cement industry of Serbia has made a significant contribution to reducing the use of fossil fuels over the past ten years. By substituting 22% of fossil fuels in 2016, cement producers in Serbia reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 200,000 tonnes, and they are ready, like their peers in developed in EU countries, to make their capacities available for the treatment of significant quantities of different types of waste in a safe, secure, and controlled way,” Milinković said.
Aleksandar Jovović, PhD, a professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade, discussed requirements for fuels that can be used in the cement industry, highlighting the importance of biomass use for cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the challenges faced by the cement industry when using biomass as fuel.
Biomass and climate change
As the use of biomass in industrial sectors represents an excellent example of the fight against climate change, the roundtable provided an opportunity to discuss the importance of drafting a cross-sectoral national strategy to combat climate change and an accompanying action plan to enable Serbia to establish a strategic national legislative framework for climate change action in accordance with international obligations and targets concerning cuts in GHG emissions.
“The Republic of Serbia is one of the countries rich in biomass resources, both in terms of their biological diversity and distribution. Thanks to increasingly tight requirements under national regulations, limited fossil fuel resources, energy import dependency, and traditional use, biomass represents the most significant potential in the renewables sector in Serbia,” said climate change expert Danijela Božanić.
Matej Gasperič, an expert on the EU project to produce a climate change strategy and action plan, and Ivana Šekler of the Faculty of Applied Ecology – Futura also spoke at the gathering, highlighting the results, challenges, and expectations concerning the development of biomass use by aligning the technical and technological, economic, and social circumstances.
All three cement producers in Serbia – Lafarge Serbia, CRH Serbia, and Titan Cement Factory Kosjerić – are members of the CIS. Waste was first used as fuel by the domestic cement industry in 2008. Ten years on, thanks to the thermal treatment of waste at the cement plants, nearly 400,000 tonnes of waste does not end up in landfills.