Cement production is considered a heavy polluter but at the same time, there is a lot of leeway to improve the sustainability aspect of its operations and processes. Titan Zlatna Panega, one of the main producers of Bulgaria counts among the pioneers with respect to its proprietary cement technology.
Concrete, and cement, in particular, is the most widely used building material in the world. According to the EU’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, cement supports the transition to a climate-neutral and resilient economy. Cement is everywhere around us – it is used for the construction of energy-efficient buildings, road and railway infrastructure, water treatment plants, and for the foundations of wind turbines and solar panels.
How a cement company goes green
The cement sector faces many economic and technological limitations for its full decarbonisation. However, one of the main manufacturers of cement in Bulgaria, Titan Zlatna Panega Cement AD – part of the TITAN Group – is committed to delivering carbon-neutral concrete to our society by 2050 as Adamantios Frantzis, General Manager of Titan Zlatna Panega Cement points out for SEE News. Like all other companies in the TITAN Group, Zlatna Panega has set decarbonisation goals by 2030. To achieve them, the company relies on a palette of measures – using more and more alternative fuels, increasing energy efficiency, modernising its equipment and processes, investing in renewable energy sources, creating low-carbon products and implementing cutting-edge technologies and solutions.
Reducing emission and energy consumption
Over the last two years, amid the challenges of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, extreme energy prices and high inflation Zlatna Panega Cement decreased its CO2 emissions by 4% in 2022 y-o-y and the consumption of natural gas by 60%.
Following up on an energy efficiency audit by the Research Institute for the German Cement Industry, TITAN has implemented measures and succeeded in reducing the electrical energy consumption in the process of preparation of raw meal. “We have installed an electrolyser at our site in Zlatna Panega and started producing hydrogen. The use of hydrogen and premium-quality alternative fuels helped us reduce the use of fossil fuels in our kilns. In 2022, we reached close to 50% share of alternative fuels in our fuel mix”- Frantzis explains.
Alternative fuels and sustainable products
Frantzis also emphasises that the alternative fuels produced at the company’s premises in Zlatna Panega consist of non-recyclable plastics, rubber, paper, and agricultural wastes. If not used in the plants, these wastes would have been landfilled and would have polluted the soil and the water of the country. By utilising alternative fuels and raw materials the company contributes to the circular economy and to the sustainable development of the country.
Earlier this year TITAN launched two new types of cement with a much lower carbon footprint compared to the old types. One of them is new not only for Bulgaria but also for Europe – it has been produced in conformity with an EU standard adopted just a year ago.
In 2023, we aim to complete the modernisation of our installation for alternative fuels and start the construction of a 5-MWp solar plant. These projects will enable us to further increase the use of alternative fuels, will strengthen our resilience to external energy crises and at the same time will decrease our environmental footprint. We expect to reduce our direct CO2 emissions by more than 5,000 t per year and our indirect CO2 emissions by 3,000 t per year – Adamantios Frantzis, General Manager of Titan Zlatna Panega Cement
Last but not least, the company continued the effort in halting the biodiversity loss and preserving the quality of the air and water. “We have finalised recently a net impact assessment on biodiversity and an ecosystem services assessment for the areas of our quarries. Now we apply a strict water management plan and maximise the use of recycled water. In 2022, we reduced the specific freshwater consumption by 33% compared to 2021 and increased the use of recycled water by 20%” – Frantzis tells.
The greatest reward
Cement production requires a high level of expertise and is also not without its hazards. No wonder General Manager points out that the factory has received a “Green grading” for its health and safety performance in a 360-degree safety audit by the TITAN Group for the fifth year in a row. The effect of these efforts is reflected in the numbers. The company is deservedly proud that for two years (more than 740 days) have not had a single accident while working with our own employees. “This is our greatest reward” – he says.