Alternative fuels

With energy costs rising, reduced availability of typical fossil fuels and ever stricter regulations on environmental limits, alternative fuel co-processing has become a necessity for cement plant operators

Alternataive fuels solutions

Conversion to petcoke

Petcoke firing is normally attractive due to the lower fuel price

Conversion to petcoke

Petcoke firing

Firing with petcoke instead of traditional fuel is normally attractive due to the lower price of petcoke. But petcoke usually has lower volatility and higher nitrogen and sulphur contents than traditional fuels, so changing to petcoke can also entail certain operational problems, such as:

  • blockages in the preheater cyclones
  • build-up in the kiln riser duct
  • increased NOx, SO2 and CO emission
  • a dusty kiln
  • a more unstable calciner operation


Longer downtime due to these problems can easily offset the advantage of lower production costs. The effect of changing to petcoke should therefore be carefully evaluated before the change is made.  

Feasibility survey

FLSmidth can send a process design specialist to your plant to study the performance of the kiln system and the type of fuel currently being used. This survey will form the basis for considering the implications of changing to petcoke firing. The survey includes gathering process data for the kiln system and the necessary material and gas sampling. The performance of the kiln burner and the coal mill grinding capacity will also be included.

The results are compiled in a report with recommendations for any modifications to the kiln parameters or the raw mix which should be made before changing to petcoke firing. For the actual implementation of the change, a FLSmidth specialist is available to assist plant personnel with troubleshooting and addressing any initial difficulties.