ENVIRONMENTAL AND COMMUNITY COSTS OF COAL FIRING IN CEMENT INDUSTRYMOHAMED LOTFY K. ABOUZEED, FAWZIA I. MOURSY, MOSTAFA A. MOHAMED AND ASMAA S. HAMOUDA
Air pollutants associated with burning Coal, which is the worst fossil fuels in terms of the quantity and quality of emissions harmful to the environment and human health. Besides Carbon Emissions, the combustion products include particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5) - Sulfur Oxides â Nitrogen Oxides - Carbon Monoxide - Hydrocarbons, in addition to a large number of toxic air pollutants such as Lead, Mercury, Dioxins and Furans, some of these pollutants spread at varying distances around the source and the distances increased to which the emissions travel in the wind direction until they reach more than 1,000 km for some pollutants such as particulate matter (PM 2.5) and mercury , increasing the number of people exposed to health risks affecting organs body, especially the Brain, Nervous system, Heart, Circulation and Respiratory system. Community incurred the costs associated with the use of Coal or any other fuel outside the plants, the cost is not such health treatment cost incurred by the community, but the unforeseen social and income loss consequences due to health deterioration and loss of jobs or life, regardless of the cost of fuel purchase. Developed countries rely on the development of strategies and policy-making on total costs (Including societal costs), i.e. external community costs (Externalities) in addition to the direct cost of buying or managing fuel the government of Egypt (Environmental authorities) had imposed relatively high charges in return to import and use of coal as a fuel, in addition to a set of regulatory decrees and environmental limits on handling and burning Coal. But the environmental issues associated with the use of Coal as a fuel are still mortgaged to the ability of the Environmental authorities to implement these regulations and minimize the negative and health impacts of burning Coal as a fuel. In Egypt âIntegrated and Sustainable Energy Strategyâ EIES report issued in November, 2015, in the third section 3.5 Challenges, The strategy reported that the government of Egypt will do the following among other commitment actions: Support policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including the dissemination of ultra-critical Coal technologies as well as the reduction of air pollutant emissions in the energy sector. In this regard, there are two issues, first issue is :In reality, the government via the Environmental Authorities issued the rules and regulation of handling and use Coal as a fuel before issuing the so called â Support policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gasâ¦..â. prior to the date of declaring the strategy and the actions commitment to reduce air pollutants by one year nearly. The second issue is that the Government of Egypt in its policy commitment is focusing on the Energy sector and didnât mention any commitment to what should be done to alleviate the negative effect of air pollutants from industrial sector that are using Coal as a fuel (eg. Cement Industry) in the âSupport policiyâ although the industrial sector came in the first rank in energy consumption with 37.4% , and Cement industry came in the second rank in energy consumption after Iron and stell industry. In the context of widespread action to fight climate change, and as Coal remains the most polluting source of energy (It emits CO2 twice as much as N.G), surprisingly enough that there are some 20 countries are turning to coal, including nine in Africa (Egypt one of them) In terms of coal, Egypt has no Coal mines except the Coal of Al Maghara (the cave) in Sinai Peninsula and its quantities are limited and not currently usable in practical and in economic terms. Hence, Egypt is a net importer for Coal, and are even expected to increase in the short-medium term, as a consequences to the approval of Egyptian government to use coal as a fuel in April 2014. Since that date, 19 cement companies out of 22 companies are using coal in the energy mix with rates ranging between 85% to 95%. According to Egypt Second and Third National Communication Reports (SNC report May, 2010 and 3rd NC report Mars, 2016 - Green House Gas Inventory in Industrial Sector, respectively), indicate that the main sources of GHG emissions in the industrial processes are headed by Cement Industry according to data published in both reports. What supporting the superiority of cement industry to heading GHG emissions among other industrial sectors is that the average energy consumption in Egypt per ton of cement is much higher than the European average and the highest consumption rate in Germany. Meaning that there is a waste of energy in the Egyptian cement factories about 22% to 34%. This waste has two negative aspects. The first aspect is that this energy waste is subsided by the government for the industrial sector and the second aspect is that the waste of energy means directly an increase in GHG emissions that is not counted in the National Inventory for GHG emissions, and not counted in the Environmental Impact Assessment EIA studies submitted to EEAA to get the Environmental approval on using Coal as fuel in Cement industry. The Government of Egypt takes the view that a more diverse energy mix is a more secure energy mix as it is less vulnerable to fluctuations in the availability of any one fuel and to face challenges in energy sector. The EIES strategy comprises 5 scenarios. All scenarios except the third scenario excluding the use of Coal in energy production, but the rest four scenarios are emphasizing on the use of coal in energy production after 2019/2020 which is expect to reach up to 6%. The reason for that is the consumption of Coal is limited in Industrial sector to Iron production in Blast Furnace and Cement industry, and the consumption in Iron production almost constant , but Cement production is increasing rapidly (Yet Egypt has around 27.9 % over the market capacity) . In calculating community cost with reference to average consumption of production of 60 million tons / year of cement in Egypt using Coal as a fuel compared to European average consumption of Coal as a fuel to produce the same quantity revealed that the use of Coal instead of Natural Gas leads to the increased emissions of Nitrogen oxides by (22,899 tons), Sulfur Oxides (221.796 tons), Particulate matter PM10 (41.491 tons), PM2.5 (38.103 tons), Carbon emissions. 9,323,321 tons, and that would increase the societal cost added to the National Economy by about (2.8-3.9) billion dollars annually. So, the new strategy for INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE ENERGY STRATEGY TO 2035 in its best scenarios is dedicated for negative impacts of using Coal as a fuel in industrial sector for the next two decades.