CEMCAP – CO2 capture from cement production

The European cement industry has committed itself to contributing to climate protection measures and therefore to curbing its CO2 emissions. CO2 capture technologies, although an essential part of all CO2 reduction scenarios, are not yet ready for large-scale deployment in the cement industry. Hence, the primary objective of CEMCAP is to prepare the ground for large-scale implementation of CO2 capture in the European cement industry. To achieve this objective, CEMCAP aims to:

Extraction of hot clinker from an operating kiln lineExtraction of hot clinker from an operating kiln line
  • Leverage to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 for the oxyfuel capture technology of cement plants and three fundamentally different post combustion capture technologies, all of them with a targeted capture rate of 90%;
  • Identify the CO2 capture technologies with the greatest potential to be retrofitted to existing cement plants in a cost and resource-effective manner, maintaining product quality and environmental compatibility;
  • Formulate a techno-economic decision-basis for CO2 capture implementation in the cement industry, where the current uncertainty regarding CO2 capture cost is reduced by at least 50%.

For successful large-scale deployment of CO2 capture in the cement industry, technologies must be developed beyond the current state of the art. In order to bring the most high potential retrofittable CO2 capture technologies to a higher TRL level and closer to implementation, CEMCAP aims to:

  • Describe the routes for the development required to close technology gaps for CO2 capture from cement and assist technology suppliers along the related innovation chains.
  • Identify and follow up minimum five potential innovations springing from CEMCAP research. Technologies suitable for CO2 capture retrofit are focused on in CEMCAP, because cement plants typically have a lifetime of as long as 30-50 years. However, the results from CEMCAP will enable looking beyond this horizon. Therefore, CEMCAP intends to create pathways for the low to near-zero CO2 emission cement production of the future.
Testing of the oxyfuel clinker cooler prototypeTesting of the oxyfuel clinker cooler prototypeSample of clinker cooled down in an oxyfuel environmentSample of clinker cooled down in an oxyfuel environment

CO2 emissions from the cement industry constitute 7% (or 1.9 Gt annually) of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In 2013, approximately 20% of global CO2 emissions from cement production originated from Europe (EU28). Hence, a significant reduction in emissions from the cement industry is required for meeting the European and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets and maintaining industrial competitiveness. CO2 generation is an inherent part of the cement production process, due to the calcination of the most important raw material, limestone (CaCO3 converted to CaO and CO2): About 60% of the CO2 emissions from cement production are due to this conversion, whereas 40% come from the burning of fuels (which are to a large extent fossil) to provide heat for the clinker production. There are currently no feasible methods to produce clinker and thus cement without releasing CO2 from CaCO3.

Thus, a viable option to significantly reduce GHG emissions from the cement industry is CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), where CO2 capture must be retrofitted to existing cement plants. Technologies developed for CO2 capture from power plants, many of them at TRL 7-8, will need adaptation to be retrofittable to cement plants. When considered for the cement sector, capture technologies are typically at TRL 4-5 or lower. Therefore, the CEMCAP project has been developed for bringing CO2 capture technologies for the cement industry to a higher TRL level and thus closer to deployment. By using the partners' existing knowledge base and existing research infrastructure from CO2 capture R&D in the power sector, four fundamentally different capture technologies (currently at TRL 4-5) will be developed to reach TRL 6 for cement plants.

Relying on the experimental results combined with a comparative techno-economic and retrofitability analysis, CEMCAP will develop a decision-basis for CO2 capture implementation in the cement industry. This will provide a fundament for European cement producers to calculate plant-specific CCS business cases, and enable them to be at the forefront of adapting to an emerging carbon-constrained world, as e.g. outlined by the Global Commission on Economy and Climate. Two major ongoing CCS research projects in the cement industry will provide key results and knowledge, thereby assuring complementarity of competences and results. From a European perspective, CEMCAP aims at broadening the portfolio of cost- and resource-effective options for CCS and thus the range of available options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Project partners in CEMCAP Workpackage 9 “Oxyfuel clinker cooler prototype” are IKN GmbH, HeidelbergCement AG, VDZ gGmbH and SINTEF as coordinator of the CEMCAP project.

Supported by

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 641185. It aims to prepare the ground for large-scale implementation of CO2 capture in the European cement industry.