Holcim is burning shoes to reduce pollution when making cement

Updated Aug 21, 2015

Holcim is using shoes to take a step toward being a leader as an environmentally friendly aggregate producer with its Vietnam operation.

The company has forged a partnership with shredding company Untha to build a new Solid Recovered Fuel plant that will turn waste from the largest shoe factory in Vietnam into a fossil fuel substitute. The sneakers-turned-fuel will then power Holcim’s cement kiln calciner.

Holcim sought to do work with Untha because the shredding company’s single-step SRF solution from waste to energy. The plant, which was pre-assembled in Austria, will convert the waste by using an “anti-explosive Atex-specification XR3000 Cutter waste shredder with two 113kW motors, conveyor, over-band magnet, control room and water-powered fire suppression technology.”

The plant can process 10 tons of material into the 8mm fuel with high calorific value.

And there’s no air pollution as a byproduct of using rubber and other waste as fuel. The fuel product is burned at up to 3,632 degrees to destroy any organic compounds and recycle any inorganic compounds with clinker chemistry.

The plant was tested for Holcim while still in Austria, but it’s now being shipped by sea to Vietnam. It’s expected to be turning shoes into power by September.