Photograph — Bloomberg

Dangote Cement is powering its plant in Tanzania with gas turbines, a more cost-efficient and sustainable energy option, the company’s management disclosed this week.

The plan to start using its own gas-powered plant in the East African country was first announced in 2017. It was meant to reduce its reliance on diesel generator sets as well as reduce operational costs.

Moreover, Dangote Cement had previously experienced issues with President John Magufuli’s administration over tax on diesel imports to run its plant and a ban on coal imports, the East African reported. At some point, the firm suspended its operations, citing technical problems and high production costs.

“The factory is still reliant on diesel generators which results in net income losses that weigh on our operations outside of Nigeria,” the firm said at the time. “However, we expect to have gas turbines installed by September (of 2017), which will immediately bring the plant into profitability.”

The cement maker also revealed in 2017 that it had invested $90 million in the construction of the coal/gas-fired power station to be fed with natural gas at a negotiated rate by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.

Gas turbines are combustion engines that convert natural gas or other liquid fuels to mechanical energy. The turbine heats a mixture of air and fuel at very high temperatures, causing the turbine blades to spin, which then drives a generator that converts the energy into electricity.

Coming at a time the world is fighting climate change through a number of innovations, Dangote Cement’s use of gas turbines, being one of the best options for cost-effective and cleaner power generation, is quite laudable.

With strict carbon emission regulations, unstable fuel costs, as well as an emphasis on high performance at low costs, gas turbines have become one of the most viable energy options for industrial activity. And other manufacturing firms on the continent may consider following Dangote’s footsteps as the usage of gas turbines gains popularity, Damilare Famuyiwa writes for Nairametrics.

Meanwhile, the cement manufacturer’s sales volume increased by 2.7 percent to nearly 4.7 million tons for the six months ended June 30, 2019. Also from its Senegal plants, sales volumes are more than 100 percent of its rated capacity, the management said.

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