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Green Economy: Hima Cement introduces Co-Generation technology

Hima Cement is gradually phasing out the use of fossil fuels in favour of biomass in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. In the current, the company is using more than 50% of its fuel from biomass. 

The company introduced a globally acclaimed Co-Processing Technology which uses wastes to generate fuel that heats the kiln. It is called Co-Processing because of the safe destruction of waste and leaves no residues behind while at the same time, processing of cement manufacture is ongoing.

“More than 50% of our fuels are biomass waste which includes coffee husks, rice husks palm kernel, groundnut husks, and biogas,” said Mr. Israel Tinkasiimire – Commercial Director,  Hima Cement, adding that the aim is to reach 80% use of green energy.

Also used are tyre dust from waste tyres, and industrial wastes like used oil, and waste paint, among others. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) issued Hima with a License to carry out this technology. Co-Processing is recognized by Basel Convention for Treatment of Waste.  

Tinkasiimire made the revelation during the Mineral Wealth Conference 2022 in Kampala while presenting on the theme of Progress on exploration work and mineral exploration.

Previously, Tinkasiimire said the company relied on fossil fuels (HFO, coal, petcock, etc.) to generate the required heat. The nature of cement processing requires extremely high temperatures -1450°C – to turn limestone into clinker and finally to cement. 

As a result, there was a high carbon dioxide emission rate. Data shows that the cement industry represents 7% of world carbon emissions, but Hima is on a journey to cut down its emissions starting in 2026, 2030, and beyond to ensure that the company drives towards green energy solutions and turns the industry into a green industry.

Co-Processing technology is disposing of more than 100,000 tons of waste per year and that is before industrial waste. While 67,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions are reduced using this technology.

In Uganda, Hima cement has a 2.1 million tons capacity per year at its three production sites in Kasese, Tororo, and Namanve. Hima Cement holds the largest portfolio in Uganda and serves cross-cutting customers including the mining industry with a cement brand (mincem) and with 8 products for building solutions.

The biomass story started 20 years ago with a very low thermal substation ratio. Today, 53% of kiln fuel is from biomass. But that does not come easily; one must invest in the technology and train staff to manage streams of fuel. Up to 90 kilotons of biomass are used as raw materials in this technology. But The challenge he said, is the seasonality of raw materials. So when the season is off in Uganda, the company looks for supplies from DRC and Tanzania. 

Tinkasiimire said that Hima Cement is leading in this technology within the Holcim group and is number 3 globally. He said that Hima’s green efforts are above that of the group, but the company shall keep stretching.

 Community support                       

Tinkasiimire said that as they embark on the energy transition journey, along the way, the company is actually supporting the communities around the project areas for example in 2012, Hima launched the Hima Coffee Project where 16 million coffee seedlings were distributed to communities in Kamwenge, and Kasese. 

“Today, these farmers are contributing more than 3 million Swiss Francs (CHF) in foreign exchange earnings, creating jobs and increased revenues to these communities,” Said Tinkasiimire. There are also business opportunities for the communities through procuring coffee husks.   “So we are reducing emission while contributing to the balance of payment to the economy,” he said.

He explained that there are other reasons why Co-processing is being done, mainly because of the technology’s ability to completely decompose the wastes through high temperatures and long residence time, but also because the company recovers energy, which makes it above incineration and leads to conservation. It reduces greenhouse gas emission and offer local waste management solutions.  .

“Our tagline is zero waste dumping, zero landfill and we hope we can achieve it one day,” he concluded.

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