The EU is providing €12m in support to a research project aimed at helping to cut carbon emissions from cement production and ultimately make concrete more sustainable. The LEILAC consortium, led by technology provider Calix, and comprising Heidelberg Cement, Cemex, Tarmac, Lhoist, Amec Foster Wheeler, ECN, Imperial College, PSE, Quantis and the Carbon Trust, will apply and demonstrate a carbon capture technology.
The cement industry accounts for up to 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. While the sector has worked to cut emissions, around 60% of them are released directly from the processing the raw materials, so cost effective carbon capture technologies are needed on a large scale to help reach the EU’s 80% emissions reductions target by 2050.
The LEILAC project will apply Calix’s direct separation process. Its technology can capture almost pure CO2 released from limestone – potentially with no additional energy costs or environmental impact. The technology complements other carbon capture methods already developed in the power and cement sector, and can make use of alternative fuels.
But the research won’t change cement overnight. Its first phase will take three years, and will focus on finalising the design of the demonstration plant, to be constructed at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium. The pilot unit will then be put through two years of extensive testing to determine its suitability for broader use.