Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials

As part of our commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, our Birkenhead Plant has introduced the use of Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials (AFRM).

Alternative fuels are energy-rich materials and replace gas as a source of thermal energy in the cement manufacturing process. At the Birkenhead Plant we substitute gas usage with a Processed Engineered Fuel, typically commercial and industrial demolition waste and primarily timber based.

Alternative raw materials are by-products or industry wastes rich in iron, silica, alumina or calcium carbonate, which can be used to supplement traditional limestone and clay input materials.

The use of AFRMs reduce the volume of items being disposed of as landfill while reducing the burden on non-renewable energy sources. The use of alternative raw materials also provides substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the cement manufacturing process.


AFRMs have a range of benefits including:

  • Improved business sustainability
  • Reduced site greenhouse gas footprint
  • Reduction in usage of natural resources
  • Beneficial re-use of materials previously landfilled
  • Reduced NOx emissions
  • Contributes to SA government zero-waste strategy
  • No adverse impact on emissions or product quality

Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)

Process Engineered Fuel, typically commercial and industrial demolition waste and primarily timber based, displaces gas in the clinker kiln. Following extensive trials and approval from the Environment Protection Authority, Birkenhead Plant introduced Process Engineered Fuel in 2003.

Use of this renewable fuel has reduced our carbon footprint, lowered our energy costs and reduced the amount of naturally occurring clay used in the clinker manufacturing process.

Additional use of the construction and demolition waste provides benefits for South Australia by the reduction of waste to landfill and reducing the amount of fossil fuels burnt at Birkenhead.

At current burning rates, the Birkenhead Plant utilises about 70,000 tonnes of Process Engineered Fuel, replacing approximately 20% of the kiln's natural gas usage.

Please click here to download the  EPA approved RDF Resource Recovered Product Plan

Carbon powder

The production of aluminium through the smelting process results in a by-product containing carbon. Carbon powder is an energy rich material that is substituted for natural gas in the clinker kiln. Additionally, using carbon powder results in the reduction of nitrous oxide emission from the kiln process.

At current rate of utilisation of carbon powder, the Birkenhead Plant is achieving approximately a 3% reduction in natural gas usage in the kiln.


Slag, used in cement manufacture, displaces a portion of limestone and clay, which are raw materials used in the manufacture of clinker for cement.

Slag is derived from the smelting industry. Blast furnaces are used to smelt various metals including iron, lead and zinc. During the smelting process, limestone is added to help separate the metals from the other minerals. The remaining impurities are discharged from the furnace as slag.

As slag has already been heated, the carbon dioxide has already been removed. This results in reduced fuel consumption in the cement kiln and a lower carbon footprint.

At current burning rates, we use approximately 20,000 tonnes of slag annually.

Cement kiln dust

Cement kiln dust (CKD) is a by-product of the cement manufacturing process. Traditionally CKD has been sent to landfill, which has negative environmental and economic impacts. As part of a broad program of changes aimed at improving our environmental performance and reducing our carbon footprint, we have conducted a number of trials to find a better way to use and dispose of CKD.

Community Engagement

The Adelaide Brighton Cement Birkenhead Plant Community Engagement Plan 2018 V2 is now available. The Community Engagement Plan is intended to be an ongoing collaborative working document. All feedback from the community is welcome. View our Community Engagement Plan V2 here. Community feedback can be sent to more >>

Environmental Improvement Programme (EIP)

Please follow the link to view our latest EPA approved Environmental Improvement Programme. more >>

Live Ambient Particulate Monitoring Data

Adelaide Brighton Cement maintains two ambient air quality particulate monitors located in the local community at Gunn Street and the ABC Community Park on Alfred Street. To view the monitoring data click on the following link. more >>