Zhang Guoliang, Cement Expert
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.