By Rana Yehia
“90% of cement factories have agreed to use coal in their production, the Industrial Development Authority is facilitating the rehabilitation of factories in that regard and in quantifying the necessary amounts,” said head of the Industrial Development Authority, Ismail Gaber.
He added that Egypt needs more than 32m tonnes of cement to meet the needs of the domestic market.
He was speaking at the first Coal Conference in Egypt, entitled “The safe use of coal as alternative energy and its role in supporting the Egyptian economy”, launched on Monday.
The conference, taking place 11-12 May, aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable development to support the Egyptian economy and to push industrial production, especially in light of the Egyptian government’s decision to use coal within the energy mix, which will be based in the industrial sector.
Furthermore, the conference discusses the ways to gain approvals and follow the latest technology that minimises harmful emissions and the negative effects on the environment, in accordance with European standards and requirements. The conference also discusses expanding the use of the waste in the energy needed in cement factories to the maximum degree possible, and increasing the use of renewable energy.
“In light of the population increase and the growth rate reaching 4% in the Q2 of the FY 2014-2015, the demand on energy has significantly increased. As a consequence, the government has agreed on including coal in the energy system in April 2014 to be used in cement industry. Coal was used in three major industries, iron and steel, coke and aluminium, then we added cement and electricity. Only those sectors are allowed to use coal,” said Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy.
As for the regulations and standards for coal, to use or import, the importer must acquire authorisation from the ministry and that must be renewed every two years through an examination by a specialised committee. Transportation and storage is the responsibility of the factory or the company once it reaches Egypt, and it must be done in closed places, Fahmy added.
“Using coal in producing electricity is different, as new power plants will be built in costal places with specialised ports with strict standards using new technologies,” Fahmy noted.
“The world’s use of the coal reaches 30% for energy, while crude oil records 33%, natural gas 23.7% and the rest comes from nuclear, new and renewable energy,” said energy expert and former chairman of EGAS, Mohamed Shoueib.
The world’s oil reserves are sufficient for only 53 years and natural gas only 65 years, whereas, coal can cover the use of energy for 123 years, Shoueib noted, adding that the use of coal is increasing by 2.7% every year.