7. Environmental responsibility

We maintain the possibility of development for the following generation, we consider the environmental requirements and the protection of the nature’s values. 

7.1. Maintaining the biodiversity
Maintaining the biodiversity

Similarly to other heavy industrial activities, the cement production is tightly related to the surrounding environment; therefore, the basis for its operation is the protection of the nature and the provision of sustainable development in the long run.

HeidelbergCement Group, in harmony with the international environment protection strategy, sets out clear objectives to reduce the environmental encumbrance of the natural and artificial environment and ecological systems as well as to avoid the environmental damages and facilitate recultivation. By employing professional skill and the best available technologies (BAT), we can ensure that our companies will operate in compliance with regulations observing the limit values specified.

In the course of creation of environment-conscious production methods the energy saving, the reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and the secondary base and fuel materials extracted from wastes were preferred.

Continuous recultivation in terms of environment protection

Exploitation of a mine is an integral part of the cement production, influencing temporarily the equilibrium between landscape and wildlife. To restore this equilibrium, our company spends yearly many HUF 10 millions to recultivate the areas withdrawn from the mining. The natural plants of the said areas will be restored and, in compliance with the principles of sustainability, we make efforts to preserve biodiversity as well. Up to now, in the Beremend region 20 ha, while in the Vác region 65 ha were recultivated.
The reafforestation should also be mentioned. If the expansion of the mining area requires deforestation, the same number of trees will be planted elsewhere. Not
as a part of recultivation.

Soil, water and noise protection

The protection of the soil and groundwater are managed jointly by DDC. We maintain waste storage facilities equipped with water-tight floor and rain water drainage and, where required, additional water purification facilities prevent the waste water from leaving the companies. The quality of the drained water and the groundwater are inspected periodically. In the past years, the low noise load coming from the Beremend and Vác Cement Plants were reduced even further by up to date insulation systems
could be reduced still more.

Preserving the local nature values

All caves situated in the Sejce, Beremend and Nagyharsány mines of Duna–Dráva Cement Kft. are protected. (By the law, all caves stand under protection). In the vicinity of these caves special measures are introduced for their protection.

Protecting the most vulnerable ones

Year by year, a record number of bee-eater pairs (70 pairs in 2018) brood in the Beremend Mine. DDC pays special attention to the protection of the endangered bird species, therefore, we have stopped the mining activities in areas where the bee eaters are disturbed. The company is the proud owner of the title “Bird-friendly company”.

7.2. Environmental and operational consciousness
Cement industrial hightech investment in the Vác Plant Environmental modernisation 2016–2018

Between 2016 and 2018, a modernisation project in an amount of approximately HUF 7 billion was executed in the Vác Plant making another move forward for the protection of the environment by reducing further our inherently low dust emission. It is still important for us to help the population living here as a reliable and stable employer operating in the region. The labour safety was improved helping us to operate sustainably in the future as well. We are proud of the most modern, European-level technology used by our cement plants complying fully with the environmental requirements and we are sure that they will comply with the future most rigorous environmental regulations and emission values. In the course of the environmental investment we have replaced the electro-filter causing dust emission in case of power cuts for a new, bag filter providing the best possib le technological solution for this problem. Thanks to the new bag filter, the dust emission will be reduced further. This technology is applied in the Beremend Plant since 2009 and it served as an example for modernisation in Vác. By establishing the bypass system, the consumption of the fossil fuels was reduced. Instead, the share of the alternative, environment-friendly fuels (biomass or the non-recyclable dangerous wastes with energy content that can be used excellently and safely as fuel) was increased.

Our plants were already developed and modernised, but we consider that it is not enough. We seek and apply always the most environment-friendly and innovative technologies.

7.3. Minimum emission
Measuring the direct greenhouse effects

Although DDC has no monitoring system to follow the indirect greenhouse effects, but we operate a monitoring system observing a number of parameters relating to the direct greenhouse effects. The cement production is a continuous process,  owever, the intermittent operation of the systems is also possible if the market demands dictate so. When producing clinker in the cement plant, the heat equired will be provided by burning fossile, mixed or biomass fuel. The cement plant’s total emission, which is displayed with methods laid down in the monitoring plan, is resulting from the operation of fuel burning systems.

The monitoring extends to the following items:
• calcination of the limestone contained in the raw materials,
• traditional fossil fuels of the rotating furnace,
• alternative fuels for the rotating furnace,
• biomass fuel for the rotating furnace,
• natural gas fuel consumption of the stack gas generator.

Amidst directives; continuous monitoring

The cement production is continued in compliance with the regulations based on the Hungarian laws and European directives laid down in the unified environmental permission (EKHE) elaborated for the plants. It’s important to underscore the compliance with the Best Available Technologies (BAT) specifying emission rates for the cement production.

Our membership in the Emission Trading System

The greenhouse quota of the Beremend Plant in 2017 amounted to 513 790, while the effective emission value amounts to 363 206 tonnes CO2/year. The greenhouse emission quota of the Vác Plant amounted to 539 915 in 2017, while the effective emission value was 460 229 tonnes CO2/year. Both companies saved quotas, i.e. the quantity of emitted CO2 was lowered.

From the electro-filters to the bag filter system

In the course of modernisation of the Beremend Plant, in 2009, the electrostatic dust separation system applied was replaced with a bag filter system complying with the best available technology principle; thanks to this replacement, the earlier characteristic value of 10-20 mg/Nm3 was decreased to 1-2 mg/Nm3. The same development took place in the Vác Plant in 2018, resulting in the reduction of an emission from 16 mg/Nm3 to 1-2 mg/Nm3.

Measuring the emisson: transparency in focus

The daily and annual average values of the air polluting components measured continuously on the sources belonging to the clinker furnaces will be published in the company’s website for the individual plants.

7.4. Consciousness starts at the fundaments: using base materials
Alternative raw materials

The raw materials used for the cement production are compounds contained in the Earth’ crust to a large degree. As the properties of the cement are basically determined by the chemical composition instead of the origin of the raw materials, the replacement of the natural raw and fuel materials, with by-products from other industrial branches or properly prepared wastes, i.e. with alternative or secondary raw and fuel materials is possible in the process while the uniform quality of the product will still be sustained. Beside the clinker and bond-controlling gypsum, the cement can contain so called hydraulic auxiliary materials and even limestone in different quantities. By increasing the quantity of these auxiliary materials, the clinker content of the cement can be reduced and, in line with it, the volume of carbon dioxide emitted by a unit cement production. Granulated blast furnace slag, power plant soot and natural pozzolana can be used as hydraulic auxiliary materials.

Alternative raw materials used in the highest quantity

The cement industry uses the by-products coming from the stack-gas washing equipment of the thermal power plants and the artificial gypsum as bond controlling materials.

Blast furnace slag

It is produced in the steel and iron blast furnaces.


Fine dust separated by the filters of thermal power plants using pulverised coal fuel, which, together with the clinker, facilitates the solidification of the cement. The cements containing auxiliary materials facilitate the satisfaction of special demands in the course of the construction.

Utilising alternative raw and fuel materials

The main driving forces of the changes having taken place in the cement industry in the past decades are the environment protection and cost-efficiency. By the integration of the alternative raw and fuel materials in the processes, the exploitation of the natural resources can be reduced, in fact, this technology solves the problems relating to the deposition of the industrial wastes as well. This is called “win-win” solution in the environment protection.

Wastes as energy source

Everything that replaces the fossil fuels or saves energy facilitates the sustainability. The burning of wastes as fuels belongs to this circle. With the replacement of the fossil fuels the generation of depot gases exerting much stronger greenhouse effect than the carbon dioxide can be prevented. The cement plants utilise the wastes in full; the organic components as energy source, while the inorganic substances as raw material.

Alternative fuels

Beside the fossil fuels, the Vác and Beremend Plants use pre-treated alternative fuels as well, integrated into the technological process in a form expressly intended for firing in cement plants. Namely, the cement producers undertake lower pollutant emission limits with alternative fuels than with traditional ones. Thanks to the stack-gas purification system, the volume of the emission of pollutants is below the limit value. The sophisticated technical solutions for the co-incineration ensure a uniform quality of the cement and the concrete made of it and the improvement of the overall environmental performance.

7.5. Reducing the energy and water consumption

The cement industry is a very energy-intensive branch; for this reason we make efforts to minimise the consumption with the presently available most modern technologies in every possible area.

The responsible operation is always listed among our basic values, therefore, we stand for the reduction of the energy consumption in both the production and our office buildings.

The heat consumption of the clinker production and also the overall electric energy consumption of the company are continuously optimised. We pay special attention to the application of the compressed air produced with high electric energy consumption. For the near future, we plan the thermal insulation of our buildings and the modernisation of the heating systems. In the past years, the modernisation of the lighting system of the office and other buildings of our Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Business Lines was started using energy saving LED illuminators.

7.6. Waste management

The technology of the cement production is virtually free of wastes; the few wastes are generated by the service and auxiliary facilities. Our cement companies operate better as waste utilising facilities, they do jobs related predominantly to the secondary fuels supplied.

The efficiency of the changes in the approach and the measures introduced are confirmed by the numbers as well: in the Vác Plant and in the mine the water consumption fell to one third in 10 years. Bearing the economy in mind, we use recycling in our activities; the waste heat of the compressors will be used to produce urea solution.

To minimise the electric energy consumption, the deionised cooling water of the furnace gas cooling tower will partially be replaced by untreated water. Paying attention to the environmental consciousness, we operate own waste water lifting installations in our plants.
In favour of the utilisation of the wastes arising in the offices, selective waste collection was introduced in the Vác office building in 2016. According to this, the paper and plastic wastes are collected in different bins and there is also a separate one for the batteries.

7.7. Optimised transport on ground and water

For the base material supply, we are looking for options to use river or railway transport to reduce the environment pollution caused by the road transport. When transporting goods to be forwarded on roads, we utilise all possible return good options to reduce the distance to be run by empty trucks. When delivering goods, we choose our company situated nearest to the customer.

7.8. Continuous development

The maintenance of competitiveness requires continuous development. Our innovation efforts are supported by research background provided by our parent companies, the technological centre of HeidelbergCement Group, professional laboratories of SCHWENK Zement KG as well as international research institutes and Hungarian universities.

Spearheading the domestic cement research

The up to date mid-production, central and environmentanalytical laboratories and Beton Technológia Centrum Kft. (BTC)’s accredited laboratory play an important role in our own developments. The goal of the innovation is to create concrete compositions to increase the strength and durability of the concrete by elaboration of better solutions at lower environment encumbrance.

Our laboratories participate in international and domestic coal and alternative fuel related interlaboratory studies in close cooperation with the various scientific institutions and domestic universities. In harmony with the novel technologies, our equipment stock is modernised, state of art and safe equipment and methods are used within the processes.

DDC and BTC are in possession of the instrumental and test background required to keep the processes under control by most precise measurements. From the limestone mine to the delivery of the concrete, the production process is fully monitored and the required interventions can be made.
With its comprehensive activity extended to all regions, the laboratory at Vác plays active role in the support of production within the group. We are proud of our leading role played in the domestic cement industrial research and development!

Continuous innovation

When developing our products, the market demands are considered, but we use raw materials to our products in quantities unconditionally required to the production to protect the mineral resources. The main targets set for the following years is the reduction of the carbon dioxide emission / cement products. The product developments are made by experienced specialists with modern tools increasing the novelty of our products. The processes are supported by a quality-oriented management.

European high tech

Both cement plants are operating with the best high tech complying with the requirements of sustainability. To reach a position like this, in the last few years, development investments were made in volume of HUF-billions; we give a detailed account of this in chapter 7.2.