comparative analysis of coal, fuel oil and natural gas for cement production

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This study is a comparative analysis of the use of coal, fuel oil and natural gas for cement production noting their physical and chemical properties, cost and availability, impact on the environment and human health. Out of the seven cement manufacturing industries in Nigeria, three industries use these fuels were selected for the study. The industries are NigerCem –Ebonyi state, Dangote cement –Benue state and UniCem -Cross river state. Questionnaires were used to gather information on the three fuels. The likert 3- scale model was adopted, using 2.0 as the cut off mark. Based on the analysis of the study, it was observed out that amongst these three (3) fuels, fuel oil is presently expensive though available, while coal and natural gas are cheap but coal is not available due to the closure of Nigeria‟s coal mine.

In terms of environment and health, coal and fuel oil emit much harmful gases to the environment and cause more health problems to cement worker but natural gas emits less of these harmful gases to the environment and cause less health problems to workers. The study therefore shows that natural gas is the best fuel because it is cheap, readily available and creates fewer problems to the environment.

Energy is commonly defined as the ability to do work or to produce heat.
Normally heat could be derived by burning a fuel (i.e. a substance that contains internal energy which upon burning generates heat). (IEA, 2004).

The energy system today is highly dependent on fossil fuel with coal, fuel oil and natural gas accounting for about 80% of world primary energy demand. (Kul, 2001).
Fuels are the major source of energy for industries and cement industry is not an exception. However, the energy source to be adopted will have to meet the varying needs of different countries and at the same time enhance the security of each against the energy crisis that have taken place in the past.

The selection/ choice of fuel type depend on various factors such as environmental pollution, ease in processing, storage and handling, availability and cost of the fuel.
Coal, fuel oil and natural gas are the most commonly used energy carrier in cement industries. The energy use for cement production is distributed as follows:-
 92.7% for pyro-processing
 5.4% for finishing grinding and
 1.9% for raw grinding (Choate, 2003).
The choice of fuel use entails the level at which green house gases (GHG) are emitted, the cost of cement and the quality of the cement produced.
This research work will help in selecting the best fuel and techniques to be use in order to attain a high quality product at a lower cost with lesser green house gas emission to the environment.

The choice of fuel is attained by comparative analysis of coal, fuel oil and natural gas in cement production. In comparing these fuels, the following problem arises:-
 Knowledge of the physio- chemical properties of coal, fuel oil and natural gas.
 Knowledge of the green houses gases (GHG) emitted by each of these fuel, their level of emission and their effects on the environment and humans health (esp. cement workers).
 Knowledge of the cost and availability of coal, fuel oil and natural gas.

The aims of this research work is to;
 Study the physical and chemical properties of coal, fuel oil and natural gas.
 Gain knowledge on the green house gases (GHG) emitted, their effect on the environment and humans health and the level of emission from each fuel.
 Study coal, fuel oil and natural gas in relation to cost and availability.
With the growth in industrialization today, this study will offer numerous values both to the cement industry and staff, the environment and society at large.

It will choose an economical and less hazardous fuel and techniques for cement production.
Also, it will help in the selection of techniques /fuel that will reduce the emission of green house gases (GHG) from cement industries to the environment. This gases emitted causes acid rain, smog etc. which can cause cancer to human and destroys plant lives.

In terms of infrastructural development, an economical fuel for production will lead to a reduction in the cost of cement, thereby encouraging the development of buildings and Government in development of roads, bridges, and other construction- oriented projects.
This study will also give students of chemical engineering and other related courses an insight of these fuels with their different environmental implications, properties and choice of fuel when combustion of fuel is required.

This study would have covered all the Nigerian cement industries but due to time and cost of analysis, it is limited to three(3) cement industries namely:- Dangote Cement in Gboko -Benue State, United Cement Company in Calabar – Cross River State(UniCem), and Nigerian Cement Company in Nkalagu -Ebonyi State
(NigerCem) of which each uses Fuel oil, natural gas and coal respectively as energy source.
The intention of the study is to cover the effects of coal, fuel oil and natural gas in the production of cement with reference to cost, storage and handling, availability, product quality and environmental impact.

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