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Using waste to reduce CO2 emissions? Made possible by Saubermacher!

23. May 2018 // News,

In 5 plants, Saubermacher produces some 400,000 tonnes of substitute fuel used in 11 cement works in 10 different countries. It is produced from individually separated production waste of defined composition, non-recyclable plastics as well as suited, pre-treated fractions in commercial and residential waste. Thus, Saubermacher not only promotes a careful use of important fossil resources but – with its Zero Waste vision – also contributes significantly to sustainable environmental protection. Between 2003 and 2018, ThermoTeam GmbH – a company owned by Saubermacher (75%) and Lafarge Zementwerke GmbH (25%) – alone has produced around 1 million tonnes of substitute fuel. Its use in the cement industry saved approximately 1.2 million tonnes of CO², conserved natural resources and secured many jobs.

Saubermacher was founded with the aim to contribute to a liveable environment on a daily basis. Since natural resources are not available in infinite quantity, this environmental pioneer’s mission is to feed residual materials back into the materials cycle and turn waste into a valuable resource of materials and energy. Actually, the company goes one step further and – with its Zero Waste vision – pursues the goal of not leaving any waste behind any more. In 5 plants, Saubermacher produces some 400,000 tonnes of substitute fuel used in 11 cement works in 10 different countries. It is produced from individually separated production waste of defined composition, non-recyclable plastics as well as suited, pre-treated fractions in commercial and residential waste. Together with Lafarge Saubermacher has been running the largest substitute fuel treatment plant in Austria since 2003. To date, the use of substitute fuel in the cement industry saved some 1.2 million tonnes of CO² (conversion factor according to Saubermacher climate assessment carried out by PwC Wirtschaftsprüfung GmbH in 2011), conserved valuable resources and secured many jobs.

Substitute fuels – energy sources of the future!

Due to the huge population growth in recent decades, environmental pollution and the global demand for raw materials have increased dramatically. In the long run, this entails a multitude of risks for the earth and mankind: Increased CO2 emissions, global warming, environmental disasters and, in the long term, even the risk of a global shortage of resources. That is why we will sooner or later be dependent on alternatives to conventional energy production.

In order to counteract the high demand for fossil fuels, to prevent an imminent shortage of resources and because of their increasing economic and ecological significance, Saubermacher has been dealing with the development of substitute fuels for many years. Substitute fuels are usually obtained from waste and serve as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. They are solid, liquid or gaseous and their processing differs depending on the intended use. Since the composition of waste is constantly changing, but customers require consistently high quality, for example in terms of calorific value or grain size, manufacturing requires a great deal of know-how, experience and a comprehensive quality management system. This is a challenge that the environmental pioneers at Saubermacher have successfully taken on.


A story of success written by Saubermacher!

In its 5 production facilities, Saubermacher currently produces high-quality substitute fuels from energy-rich waste which are subsequently used as sources of alternative energy.

In the early 2000s, Austria’s environmental pioneer Saubermacher (75%) and Lafarge Zementwerke GmbH (25%) set themselves the goal of making a substantial contribution to environmental protection and resource preservation. Their joint vision: To produce substitute fuels to be used in the cement industry in order to achieve a recycling effect both energetically and materially and to conserve natural raw materials. This vision has been implemented in 2003 in the form of ThermoTeam, a joint venture based in the Southern Styrian Retznei area.

Today, in 2018, Saubermacher employs 15 employees in its ThermoTeam company and produces some 100,000 tonnes of high-quality substitute fuel annually. The fuel is subsequently used in the Lafarge cement works in the Retznei area, among others. With a 95 percent use of substitute fuels as the main energy source, the cement plant now ranks among the absolute top in Europe (Note: The EU average of cement plants that use substitute fuels as an energy source is currently around 40%). This saves up to 120,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and prevents the use of some 79,000 tonnes of hard coal.

But that’s not all. Looking back on the entire success story of its joint venture, Saubermacher achieved the following in the course of just 15 years:

  • 1 million tonnes of substitute fuel produced.
  • 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 (roughly equals the amount of CO2 emitted by 10,000 cars going around the globe once) saved
  • 27,000 tonnes of scrap metal and 5,000 tonnes of PET plastic sorted and recycled (in comparison: in the whole of Austria, approximately 29,000 tonnes of metal packaging are collected annually)

To be able to conserve resources even better in the future, to further advance CO2 reduction and to come even closer to its Zero Waste vision, Saubermacher invests constantly in expanding its infrastructure. For instance, some 2 million Euros will be invested into the expansion of the production facility until 2019 at the Retznei location alone. At the same time, the production output is scheduled to be increased to 118,000 tonnes per year. This will enable Saubermacher to meet increasing demands for substitute fuels for years to come.

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