Zhang Guo­liang, Ce­ment Ex­pert

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Wang Wei Edited by Mark Zuiderveld Pho­tos by Yan Shen

Zhang Guo­liang has been fo­cused on studying the treat­ment of fly ash caused by waste in­cin­er­a­tion for 10 years since he started work­ing, con­tribut­ing to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Zhang Guo­liang is an en­er­getic and avid talker. When talk­ing on us­ing his ce­ment kilns for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, Zhang speaks rashly on many tech­no­log­i­cal terms and chem­i­cal for­mu­las without think­ing. Although he works in a ce­ment pro­duc­tion plant, Zhang has al­ways con­sid­ered him­self an or­di­nary en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

Zhang has been fo­cused on studying one of the world’s prob­lems—treat­ment of fly ash caused by waste in­cin­er­a­tion for 10 years since he started work. Zhang’s per­for­mance has en­hanced his grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion of Bei­jing Build­ing Ma­te­rial Group Cor­po­ra­tion (BBMG) in R&D of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Over the past two years, BBMG’S Li­ulihe Ce­ment Plant has been trans­formed from an en­ter­prise with high en­ergy con­sump­tion and pol­lu­tion into an eco-friendly BBMG’S Liushui En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. Dur­ing this time, the com­pany has in­sisted on in­no­va­tion and en­cour­aged young re­searchers in­clud­ing Zhang to carry out R&D.

In charge of the com­pany’s De­part­ment of Tech­no­log­i­cal R&D, Zhang led his team to con­trib­ute in projects in­clud­ing R&D of China’s first pro­duc­tion line for treat­ment of fly ash, and ex­tract­ing sylvite ce­ment from ashes in ce­ment kilns. Zhang was awarded the 2017 Bei­jing Youth May Fourth Medal for his con­tri­bu­tions.

A Ten-year Strug­gle

In 2007, Zhang grad­u­ated from Chang’an Univer­sity’s En­vi­ron­men­tal En­gi­neer­ing in Shaanxi Province’s Xi’an and was the first En­vi­ron­men­tal En­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate that was em­ployed by the BBMG’S Liushui En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. After join­ing the com­pany, Zhang found he was the only tech­ni­cian in­volved in en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Ten years ago, the com­pany was called Li­ulihe Ce­ment Plant and spe­cialised in ce­ment pro­duc­tion with high level of pol­lu­tion and en­ergy con­sump­tion. Bei­jing’s ur­ban de­vel­op­ment re­quired large ce­ment sup­ply due to its prepa­ra­tion for the Bei­jing 2008 Olympic Sum­mer Games dur­ing that pe­riod and the plant’s thriv­ing busi­ness at the time. But Zhang and the com­pany’s man­age­ment pre­dicted a drop in the ce­ment in­dus­try was a trend and were well aware that the com­pany’s fu­ture de­vel­op­ment needed a change.

Zhang said, “Who would be will­ing to start a cor­po­rate trans­for­ma­tion when ce­ment pro­duc­tion was boom­ing in 2008? The com­pany has had a splen­did his­tory since it was founded in 1939, but when I first en­tered the com­pany, the man­age­ment sensed a cri­sis. Ce­ment pro­duc­tion in Bei­jing be­longed to a key busi­ness of re­lo­ca­tion for ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, and the pur­pose of em­ploy­ing me was to work in trans­form­ing it into an eco-friendly en­ter­prise.”

In 2008, the com­pany’s “May Fourth Youth Speech” gave Zhang an op­por­tu­nity to think about life. The topic of his speech was “My goal: De­vel­op­ing an En­vi­ron­men­tFriendly Ce­ment Pro­duc­tion En­ter­prise.” Since then, Zhang has be­come an ac­tive R&D tech­ni­cian and led 15 staff mem­bers from his in­no­va­tive work group to crack tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lems, form­ing a team to shoul­der dif­fi­cult work.

To trans­form the ce­ment plant into an en­vi­ron­ment-friendly en­ter­prise, Zhang chose an un­usual way of 10-year ex­plo­ration. At his ini­tia­tive, the com­pany started its busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion from sev­eral as­pects based on the R&D cen­tre set up in 2008. They in­cluded en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and emis­sion re­duc­tions, us­ing ce­ment kilns for dis­pos­ing of solid wastes, and de­vel­op­ing ce­ment grind­ing sta­tions with low pol­lu­tion and en­ergy con­sump­tion.

De­vel­op­ing ce­ment grind­ing sta­tions was the com­pany’s first choice but its three mil­lion tons of pro­duc­tion far ex­ceeded mar­ket de­mand. This at­tempt was a fail­ure, but Zhang was aware that an en­ter­prise’s sur­vival and de­vel­op­ment was that it must carry out a thor­ough trans­for­ma­tion, or “revo­lu­tion from head to toe.”

Zhang said, “At that time, we needed to pro­mote an eco-friendly en­ter­prise. Ce­ment kilns should be used to serve en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and city man­age­ment. Us­ing a ce­ment kiln for solid waste treat­ment wasn’t new, as many ce­ment pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies in de­vel­oped coun­tries were en­gaged in the busi­ness. I be­gan to bor­row ex­pe­ri­ences from the EU, the United States and Ja­pan. Sev­eral Chi­nese en­ter­prises were de­vel­op­ing it but didn’t yet take shape.”

Most of China’s cities, es­pe­cially large cities, are un­der an em­bar­rass­ing cir­cum­stance—be­sieged by the garbage. To solve this is­sue, ur­ban ad­min­is­tra­tion uses waste in­cin­er­a­tion. But fly ash caused by waste in­cin­er­a­tion still wasn’t re­solved. Dur­ing the process, var­i­ous pol­lu­tants such as smoke, leachate, slag and fly ash were byprod­ucts.

Pro­cess­ing fly ash is a world­wide prob­lem. Ex­tremely toxic to the en­vi­ron­ment and hu­man health, it con­tains the most toxic diox­ins and chlo­rine salt that are the hard­est to be han­dled. After be­ing pro­cessed, fly ash is a us­able re­source. In re­cent years, us­ing fly ash re­sources has drawn in­creas­ing at­ten­tion of re­searchers, the gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic.

With the ef­forts of Zhang’s in­no­va­tion team, BBMG’S Liushui En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. be­came Bei­jing’s only en­ter­prise spe­cial­is­ing in

Over the past ten years, Zhang Guo­liang has ex­plored ways of trans­form­ing the ce­ment busi­ness into an en­ter­prise to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

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