HL Deb 17 May 1994 vol 555 cc5-6WA
Viscount Mills

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the chemical constituents of "Cemfuel"; what emissions are produced when it is burnt in cement kilns; whether the EC Directive on Waste applies to "Cemfuel"; and if not, why not; and Whether "Cemfuel" contains toxic substances and, if so, why HMIP is allowing it to be burnt in cement kilns and not, as with other toxic wastes, in specially designed incinerators.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (The Earl of Arran)

The detailed composition of Cemfuel is a matter of commercial confidentiality, but lies within the following broad parameters:

  • Solvents—up to 100 per cent.
  • Resins & pigments—up to 5 per cent.
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls—up to 50 mg/kg (ppm)
  • Total Halogens—up to 3.75 per cent.
  • Total metals—up to 3,150 mg/kg
  • Dioxins/furans—not detectable

Emissions from cement kilns when burning Cemfuel as a supplementary fuel are similar to those when burning conventional fuels, though most are somewhat reduced. They include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulates, sulphur dioxide, and low levels and volatile organic compounds. Current trials are intended to determine the emission levels that can be achieved under normal process operating conditions when burning Cemfuel.

The requirements of the framework directive on waste apply to substances which are waste as; defined in Article 1 of Council Directive 91/156/EEC. Guidance on the interpretation of the definition of waste has been provided in Annex 2 to DoE Circular 11/94. Whether or not a particular substance is waste depends on the facts of each case; and it is the responsibility of the holder to decide whether a substance in his possession is waste.

Combustible organic toxic substances that are contained in Cemfuel can be expected to be destroyed when burnt under the normal process conditions of high temperature, extended residence time and excess oxygen that exist in a cement kiln, whilst toxic non-combustibles are firmly incorporated into the cement clinker.

Viscount Mills

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures they are taking to protect the environment and public health when allowing "Cemfuel" to be test burned in cement kilns; how this will be monitored; what information on the subject is available; and where this information can be found.

The Earl of Arran

During the limited period of the test burns, in addition to the environmental and public health protection afforded by the conditions imposed in the current cement process authorisation, HMIP has specified additional monitoring and the regular reporting of results. The tests will enable HMIP to ascertain whether the operator is using the Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Costs (BATNEEC), and to incorporate appropriate conditions into the authorisation.

HMIP will seek to evaluate the information obtained before the end of the year. Whether permanent authorisations are issued for burning Cemfuel will depend on the outcome of the trials.

As they become available to HMIP, results for the trials will be placed on the public registers in the relevant HMIP regional offices. The information is open to public scrutiny and HMIP will consider any comments it receives.