Alternative fuels


Alternative fuels

Whenever possible, Lafarge uses waste products in place of fossil fuels to fire its cement kilns. The kilns' high temperature ensures that the alternative fuels are burned safely.

One compelling alternative to fossil fuels is fuel derived from waste or byproducts from agriculture (biomass) and industry, such as:

  • coffee husks,

  • rice husks,

  • palm nut husks,

  • scrap plastic.


All of these can be recycled as alternative fuels and burned safely in cement kilns.


This approach relieves the community of the need to process this waste and helps to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The extremely high temperatures in cement kilns eliminate the waste completely, leaving no residue.


At present, alternative fuels account for 10.7% of Lafarge's fuel use across all businesses.


Lafarge actively participates in the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) system initiated under the Kyoto Protocol.

Palm nut husks used as alternative fuel

Palm nut husks used as alternative fuel

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol aims to counter climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. In effect since February 2005, the Protocol has been ratified by over 150 countries. Under the Protocol, industrialized countries have until 2012 to reduce their CO2 emissions by 5.2% compared to 1990 levels.




Biomass refers to any organic material derived from plants that can be used to provide energy. It is the biodegradable portion of:

  • by-products, waste and residues from agriculture, forestry and associated industries,

  • industrial plant waste and residues.



Clean development mechanisms (CDMs)

The Kyoto Protocol does not set limitations on CO2 emissions for developing countries, but it does encourage the adoption of alternative mechanisms called CDMs.


To promote the implementation of best-in-class technologies in emerging economies, CDMs provide carbon credits to companies that finance sustainable development projects. For example:

  • In Malaysia, 5% of the thermal energy required for the Lafarge cement plants in Rawang and Kanthan is produced from biomass.

  • In Morocco, a wind farm provides 50% of the electricity required for the Tétouan cement plant.