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Hanover cement plant selected for LEILAC 2 carbon capture demo project

After very good results from the first project phase, HeidelbergCement Group is starting the further development and scaling-up of the Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement (LEILAC) technology together with the Australia-headed technology company Calix Ltd and a European project consortium. After examining different locations, it has been decided to build the LEILAC 2 demonstration installation for carbon capture at the HeidelbergCement cement plant in Hanover, Germany.

Commissioned in 2019, the LEILAC 1 project involved the construction of a 25 000 tonnes-per-annum first-of-a-kind carbon capture pilot plant at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium. LEILAC 2 will see a four-fold scale-up of the proprietary technology at a second demo plant, this time at the HeidelbergCement plant in Hanover, Germany (photo courtesy Calix).

HeidelbergCement Group is one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of building materials and solutions, with leading market positions in aggregates, cement, and ready-mixed concrete.

As a forerunner for the sector on the path to carbon neutrality, the Group has set itself the goal of reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30 percent by 2025 compared with the reference year 1990.

To be located in Hanover

In order to achieve this, the Group has intensified its research in the area of CO2 emissions and is investing in several different pilot projects and technologies for the capture, utilization, and storage (CCU/S) of CO2 emissions of which the European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation LEILAC 2 pilot project is one.

The LEILAC 2 pilot builds on the success of LEILAC 1, in which a CO2 capture pilot installation with a capture capacity of 25 000 tonnes of CO2 per year was constructed at HeidelbergCement’s Lixhe plant in Belgium in 2017 as a means to mitigate CO2 emissions dramatically without significant energy or capital penalty.

With LEILAC 2, which will be located at HeidelbergCement’s Hanover cement plant in Germany, an installation around four times as large will be operated. The pilot will capture 20 percent of the cement plant’s capacity, corresponding to around 100 000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

In cement production, two-thirds of the CO2 emissions consist of process-related emissions that are released when heating the limestone and are therefore unavoidable. The LEILAC 1 project has already successfully demonstrated that this unavoidable process CO2 can be successfully captured and that the technology also works in practice on a larger scale, said Jan Theulen, Director Alternative Ressources at HeidelbergCement.

The project in Hannover will also include preliminary investigations into the use of the captured CO2.

Australian technology

Central to both the project is patented LEILAC technology developed by Australian company Calix Ltd that enables for the direct separation of CO2, allowing it to be used for CO2 reduction in traditionally CO2 intensive industries, such as lime and cement production.

With the patented LEILAC technology, the CO2 released during cement production can be captured in a highly pure form via a separate waste gas stream and used in another process. Like its predecessor project LEILAC 1, LEILAC 2 is based on Calix’s innovative calciner technology.

In cement production, two-thirds of the CO2 emissions consist of process-related emissions that are released when heating the limestone and are therefore unavoidable. The LEILAC 1 project has already successfully demonstrated that this unavoidable process CO2 can be successfully captured and that the technology also works in practice on a larger scale, said Jan Theulen, Director Alternative Ressources at HeidelbergCement.

The first project design phase is to be completed by the end of June 2021, and the demonstration installation is expected to be ready by the end of 2023. Including design, construction, commissioning and extensive testing, the overall project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The LEILAC technology has the potential to enable the cement and lime industries to efficiently capture their process emissions on an industrial scale. The pilot project in Hanover is one of several promising CO2 capture technologies that we are currently testing at full speed within the HeidelbergCement Group, said Dr Dominik von Achten, Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement.

The project costs amount to EUR 25 million, of which EUR 16 million of funding will be provided under H2020 following the European Commission (EC) assessment that validated the proposal. The remaining EUR 9 million is being provided by the partners of the project consortium of which HeidelbergCement’s share amounts to EUR 3 million.

We welcome HeidelbergCement’s commitment to their Hannover site for the integration of the LEILAC 2 demonstration unit. This commitment is an important milestone in the project, and we look forward to working with HeidelbergCement and our other LEILAC 2 partners to make the project a success, and demonstrate at meaningful scale the ability of the technology to help the cement industry mitigate CO2 emissions, commented Phil Hodgson, Managing Director of Calix and Chairman of the LEILAC 2 Executive Board.

Apart from HeidelbergCement and Calix, partners include CIMPOR-Indústria de Cimentos, SA (Portugal), Porthos: Port of Rotterdam CO₂ Transport Hub & Offshore Storage – Port of Rotterdam, Gasunie and EBN (The Netherlands), ENGIE Laborelec (Belgium), Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB) – Department of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources – BGR (Germany), CERTH – Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece), IKN GmbH (Germany), Calix Europe (Belgium), and Lhoist Group (Belgium).

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