Earlier this month German multinational HeidelbergCement announced its plans to turn its factory site in Slite, Sweden, into an entirely carbon neutral plant by 2030. Such a feat is intended to be achieved through carbon capture and storage technology (CCS).
Cement production is typically difficult to decarbonise, with emissions produced by the warming of kilns and the calcification of limestone. The latter is the process of heating a material to a high temperature without melting it. HeidelbergCement has previously stated its hopes to capture up to 1.8m tons of CO2 every year – a figure equivalent to the plant’s total annual emissions. Once captured, the CO2 will be transported to a permanent offshore storage facility.
The company has also said plans to further reduce the plant’s carbon footprint will lead to an increased use of bio-based fuels at the site.
The world’s second largest cement maker, HeidelbergCement’s ambitions to become carbon neutral across its projects by 2050 is no mean feat, and will serve to greatly advance the country’s carbon emission reduction goals.
This is not the German company’s first CCS project, with its construction of another plant in Brevik, Norway. The process at the Brevik cement plant is to use a mix of water and organic amine solvents to absorb the CO2. Once completed, it will be the world’s first industrial-scale CCS cement production facility, anticipated to capture 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per annum. Expected to open its doors in 2024, it will also provide something of a test project for the firm, helping to inform operations at its Slite site.
The wider push to decarbonise the industry has also seen Mexican cement producer Cemex SAD de CV committing $25m into making its UK-based cement plant run entirely on hydrogen and other low carbon fuels. Similarly, construction materials firm LafargeHolcim is piloting 20 carbon capture projects, and investigating into producing green cement from recycled materials.