Volume 15, Number 2
A Gossman Consulting, Inc. Publication
June 2010

Cement Kiln Alternative Fuels - An Update


David Gossman

For over 30 years the Portland cement industry has pursued a growing list of alternate fuels saving natural resources, reducing costs, decreasing emissions, decreasing the need for landfills and other disposal options and decreasing the CO2 footprint of emissions. I have personally been involved in working on a wide variety of these projects and thought that it might be helpful to have a master list of alternative fuels that have been are or are considered usable in cement kilns. This is an updated version of this list originally published in 2007.

Industrial Waste Byproducts

Waste solvents and other chemical industry wastes

Waste oils and petroleum wastes

Solid hazardous waste fuel

Ship oil waste (Basel Convention waste)

Tar balls from oil ships

Oil residue from spill cleanups

Diaper manufacturing waste

Plastic waste from pharmaceutical packaging

Waste from roof shingles and tar paper

Spent aluminum potliner – treated and untreated - 1st and 2nd cuts

Aluminum smelting pot anode waste

Paper pulp sludge

Glycerin from biodiesel production

Gasoline and fuel oil contaminated soils


Palm kernel shells

Rice kernel shells

Biosolids – from sewage sludge

Shredded woody wastes and sawdust

Used railroad ties

Rendering wastes and other animal processing wastes

Waste cooking oils

Grease trap and filter waste

Landfill gases

Filter cake – from oily waters and other organic containing cleanups

Off specification and dated foods and their packaging

Consumer Wastes

Auto fluff

Vehicle goods disassembly wastes

Electronic disassembly wastes

Buffer pads – from auto body polishing

Carpet scraps – pre and post consumer

Plastic shred from recycling wire

Off specification spirits (alcoholic beverages)

Hospital and medical wastes (after autoclaving)

Sharps and other home generated medical wastes (after autoclaving)

Tires – whole and shredded

Refuse derived fuels – and organic containing streams from recycling household refuse

Unused pharmaceuticals - both pre and post consumer

Mixed plastics from plastic recycling operations

Off specification shampoos, soaps and similar consumer goods

Alternative natural fuels

Tar sands

Oil shale

Please note that not all these fuels are suitable for all cement kilns. Each kiln and its unique process and chemistry must be evaluated to match appropriate fuels with kilns. Further, rigorous waste fuel quality control programs are needed to safely handle many of the above materials. There are numerous other resources at the gcisolutions web site that discuss these issues in more detail. Please call me at 563-652-2822 if you have any questions.