One year later, DDC plans new environmental development

Duna-Dráva Cement Kft. realized a HUF 7 billion environmental investment between 2016 and 2018 with the purpose of reducing the already low dust emission to minimal level in the Vác Plant. On the anniversary of the project delivered in last May, the company expressed its intention to implement further developments.

The environmental modernization realized in its Vác Plant enables DDC to execute its production operations under state-of-the-art conditions, while the quality of life of the inhabitants of the region will also improve. The project will confirm DDC’s position in the region as a reliable and stable employer for decades to come.

Zsolt Szilágyi, manager of DDC’s Vác Plant and the project shared his views about the experiences of the past year.

What is the most profound result of the project?

This environmental development allows for even more environmentally friendly cement production that already goes well beyond future and ever-tightening emission limits. As a result of the modernization investment in our Beremend Plant in 2008 we measured a significant reduction in dust emissions, and our goal was to further minimize the current already low emission level of our Vác Plant as well, thus strengthening our role in the region. During the project our electrofilter furnace filter was replaced with a more efficient bag filter for even lower emission, we reduced our use of carbon-petroleum coke fuel, and increased the use of substitute, environmentally friendly and fully controlled, safe fuels. The modernization also contributed to improved work safety.

Does this mean that the expected results have been fully realized?

Yes, and for me one of the most important things is that the project concluded without any accidents, and production was able to begin on schedule. From an economic point of view, we have achieved 5% cost savings compared to the planned budget. The consistent and dedicated work of the contractors and DDC’s employees played a major role in all this, for which I would like to express my gratitude here as well. Concerning the technical details, the first two months after the launch were spent with introducing and learning the new technology. After the introductory period was over the successful verification of the guaranteed performance was completed at the end of May. The renewed furnace system completely fulfils all the expected performances and technical parameters.

What are the experiences of the past year? What were the biggest challenges after the launch?

The employees and operators responsible for managing the new system had to learn how it works and with what settings can they keep the production volume at an optimal level. In the second half of the year, production was already routine, with the exception of minor malfunctions.

How did the environmental development affect the performance of the plant?

The dust emission measured on the furnace chimney has fallen to one tenth of the level below the normal limit of the previous years after the investment. In the case of other emission components, we can state that emission has been significantly reduced. After the conclusion of the project the planned 60% replacement fuel ratio was also achieved, and the clinker production capacity did not decrease. Operation safety has also been improved as a result of fewer cyclone cloggings and failures.

This past year showed us that we were successful in incorporating truly the best available technology in Vác. In addition to all the quantifiable technical performances, we can say that we were able to renew the plant’s furnace that was originally installed in 1991. Thus the new technology and working environment will ensure long-term employment for the collective working in the Vác Plant.

Are you planning new, similar projects in the near future?

With the project completed in May 2018 we created the environmental and technological foundation to further increase the ratio of substitute fuels. After the conclusion of the launch in May we immediately started to prepare this new technological development. Its technical scope includes the construction of a new storage hall equipped with an automatic crane and the implementation of a new delivery and dispensing line for the main burner. The HUF 2 billion investment gains additional importance from the fact that it is the first time in the history of the Hungarian cement industry that a fully automatic substitute fuel storage and dispensing line that operates without any human interaction is being installed. The project is currently in the planning phase, construction will start at the end of May. The planned completion is expected in the spring of 2020.

(The interview was made in April 2019)