Bamburi Cement Factory, Mombasa has adopted the use of waste tyres as a source of energy instead of coal in its efforts to reduce air pollution. The firm has also installed larger bag fillers that will suck the dust emitted by the factory, thus greatly reducing pollution.
Ordinarily, cement is produced by using ultra-high heat to burn up raw materials to form clinker, the essential component. The firm imports coal worth billions of shillings to burn raw materials in the process of cement manufacturing. But Bamburi has since switched to burning waste tyres as a source of energy instead of relying on the expensive coal.
With this, the cement manufacturer got rid the environment of used tyres, while reducing – albeit to a small extent, the amount of money they spend on coal. The tyre waste management is vital in eliminating open tyre burning that causes air pollution.
Bamburi Cement kiln is the only facility approved by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to burn tyres in Kenya. The factory also incurs the cost of energy used for trapping dust, a process which uses electricity powered filters. The Bamburi plant houses two operating lines, one which emits 10mg per m3 (way below the international standard of 50mg per m3).
The company invested in a bag filter, the best filtering technology, at the cost of Sh500 million, which has brought good results. The other line emits 110mg/m3, but still this is not visible pollution.
With installation of a bag filter, dust pollution has been tamed to a large extent and what the factory emits now is within recommended international levels. The use of tyres to burn cement has come with other benefits to the locals. The factory buys waste tyres from small-scale collectors and safely burns them as the cement is manufactured. Coal, a fossil fuel, emits greenhouse gases when burnt and therefore has long-term effects on global warming. Waste tyres, on the other hand, are burnt completely to the point that very little if anything goes back into the environment. The company has done what it can to ensure as little dust as possible is emitted.