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Waste can be co-incinerated in Cement kilns to substitute fossil fuels.

Apart from dedicated waste incinerators, where exclusively waste is burn, the energetic content of MSW can also be recovered in industrial facilities, where waste acts as a substitute fuel, or in some cases as raw material, and is not the only feedstock present in the furnace. The main limitations of co-incineration derive from the fact that "not every waste is appropriate for co-incineration” (IFEU Heidelberg, 2009) and to the "possible contamination with elements that can impact the quality of the industrial products” (Bontoux, 1999).

Examples of practical co-incineration facilities include power and steam plants, cement and lime kilns, as well as steel works. In order to be able to co-incinerate waste in these industrial facilities it is necessary to detect which waste streams are able to adapt to the existing process. The potential fuel substitution capacity of waste in power plants is approximately five percent in hard coal plants and 10 percent in brown coal plants, while in cement and lime works the potential rises up to 50 percent. Particularly cement producers not only utilize waste as a substitute fuel but also as a raw material as the mineral fraction of the waste is utilized for the clinker.

A study done by the Ministerium für Umwelt und Naturschutz, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (2007) showed that state-of-the-art co-incineration practices contribute positively in the ecological impact of waste treatment and that co-incineration facilities can achieve similar ecological benefits as dedicated waste incinerators. The result also reported that the combination of both incinerator systems, dedicated and industrial co-incinerators, can achieve optimal results in waste treatment.


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Thermal Treatment


  • Bontoux, L.; 1999: The Incineration of Waste in Europe: Issues and Perspectives. European Commission Joint Research Centre.
  • IFEU Heidelberg, 2009: Waste Management - Co-Incineration/Co-Treatment.
  • Ministerium für Umwelt und Naturschutz, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. 2007: Ökobilanz thermischer Entsorgungssysteme für brennbare Abfälle in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Created by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Quicker (Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Technologie der Energierohstoffe an der RWTH Aachen), (), last modified by ()


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