We can help the global cement industry to decarbonise
With the net zero deadline looming above us, the cement industry is racing against time. Maarten van Roon, Chief Commercial Officer, Carbon8, puts forth his ideas on how Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) can help the cement industry decarbonise, and help make it a more circular sector.
Tell us more about the Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT).
Carbon8’s Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) is based on one of nature’s ways of sequestering carbon. Carbonation occurs naturally but it is an extremely slow process. ACT controls, manages, and accelerates this reaction so that it takes between 15-30 minutes.
Essentially, we help enable circularity for hard-to-abate industrial sectors by combining captured carbon from their operations with industrial residues, from the very same operations, to manufacture new materials for the construction industry.
In cement production specifically, cement bypass dust (CBD) and cement kiln dust (CKD) are produced as a by-product. CBD and CKD are reactive to CO2 because of the compounds they contain, making them a potential carbon sink. Our technology solution captures CO2 directly from the cement plant and permanently stores it in products, by valorising
those residues. The product that ACT currently manufactures is CircaBuild, a carbon-negative alternative to natural aggregate.
CircaBuild has various applications in the construction industry, including concrete blocks, ready-mix concrete, road fill and green roofing substrate. Regardless of which application CircaBuild materials are used in, they reduce the carbon footprint of any construction project by replacing the need for virgin materials while themselves containing captured carbon.
What happens to the carbon that is captured permanently through ACT?
ACT enables the captured carbon to be permanently locked in the products and it will not be re-released. The calcium and magnesium oxides, hydroxides and silicates within the residues react with the CO2, changing it into carbonates. Through this, the carbon is permanently sequestered into carbon-negative aggregate – CircaBuild. For example, if CircaBuild is used in concrete blocks for buildings, the
carbon will not be re-emitted if the building is demolished. It is truly permanent sequestration; it is Carbon Capture, Utilisation AND Storage – ‘CCU’ with the ‘S’.
The captured carbon becomes a direct ingredient in our process. What this means for the carbon capture, is that the system taps directly into the flue stack of the cement plant and removes a portion of the carbon directly. This does not need to be treated or purified but can directly be used within the process. The captured carbon is diverted into the CO2ntainer where, under specifically engineered conditions, it is exposed to the CBD or CKD.
Tell us about the process of setting up the containers that capture carbon at the sites of cement manufacturing and how can the units implement that?
The CO2ntainer is our modular and mobile CCUS solution. It is the realisation of ACT as a compact, easily deployable CCUS innovation. The Plug ‘n Play system allows for frictionless transportation and implementation while using CO2 captured at point source to carbonate industrial residues destined for landfill. This is something that we will be delivering to the cement industry with the help of our commercial partners FLSmidth.
Our system can be integrated and retrofitted directly to a client’s cement plant with minimal downtime. Through this, the client is able to decarbonise its operation, while avoiding the cost associated with the landfill of the CBD and CKD by valourising it, and producing it into a product directly. This makes it economical and sustainable – demonstrating how the circular economy can exist within heavy industry.
Tell us more about how your company has scaled-up and your deployment at Vicat.
Carbon8’s solution dates back to over 20 years of research by our two-founding scientists, Dr Paula Carey and Professor Colin Hills. They founded the company as a spin-out from the University of Greenwich, England where our technology was originally developed.
Since then, we proved the technology at full-scale, using pure CO2 and APCr from Energy from Waste plants in the UK. A key milestone in the company’s development was the invention of the CO2ntainer in 2018. This was the realisation of the technology in its modular and mobile form, which led to successful pilots and demonstrations at a CRH cement plant in Ontario, Canada and at Hanson, part of the Heidelberg Group, in the UK.
Our first commercial deployment was at Vicat Group’s cement plant in Montalieu, France in 2020. Vicat has set ambitions to be climate neutral by 2050 and we are proud to be one of its solutions to achieve this. Like other cement plants around the world, Vicat produces cement bypass dust – which we expect will increase as Vicat, and the wider industry, move towards Alternative Fuels. These require Bypass Systems and so needed a solution to address
this. Our CO2ntainer fits into this roadmap as we can help Vicat decarbonise while giving their
CBD a new life in the form of carbon-negative CircaBuild aggregates, that they are using in concrete block production.
What other efforts can be taken by the cement industry to manage carbon emissions?
Every cement plant will have slight differences in their operations and geographic location that will determine the best ways they can manage their carbon emissions. For example, CCS may be challenging to cement works in remote locations, distant from planned CCS industrial clusters.
To adequately answer these questions, we do need to consider it in relation to what can be done today and what will be done in the future. This was also represented in the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s (GCCA) road map, which clearly showed that there are multiple levers necessary to achieve net zero ambitions, across different time horizons.
For some solutions, like full-scale CCS, there will be a time lag for the necessary infrastructure to be in place. However, we are seeing the appetite and drive necessary to implement changes today. ACT is just one of a number of different technologies that are ready today. Industrial players can be early adopters and should be, too, if net zero is to be achieved. This isn’t something where we can wait for 30 years of proof of concept. There needs to be trust in delivery and a leap of faith to get there.
What are the various benefits of carbon capture and how does it support the environment?
The need to stop the temperature of the planet at 1.5oC has been clear for some time now, and this was reemphasised again at COP26, held last year in Glasgow, UK. Specifically, in the cement industry, it is widely acknowledged and accepted that carbon capture is necessary for the industry to reach its net zero ambitions. In the GGCA’s net zero roadmap, 36 per cent of carbon reductions can be achieved from carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
As the question suggests, there are various ways that carbon capture can benefit the planet and it will depend on the solution we are speaking about. However, if we focus on CCUS, rather than just CCS, there is a clear benefit in the ‘utilisation’ element. This goes beyond just carbon capture and storage but uses the carbon for another purpose. This is what we, at Carbon8, focus on.
Our technology captures, utilises, and permanently stores carbon in solid form. This not only helps the cement industry decarbonise, but also become a more circular sector.
Tell us more about your contribution towards achieving the net zero mission.
Carbon8 is a Circular Impact company; we can help the global cement industry decarbonise, as well as transition to more circular operations.
Our technology can be deployed as a standalone plant using bottled CO2 or in the containerised form directly to the site. The CO2ntainer can treat up to 12,000 tonnes of CBD annually, diverting this from landfill and avoiding the associated cost. CBD can have reactivity to CO2 of up to 33 per cent by weight, making it a carbon sink for the CO2 captured onsite. The preliminary Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) using the aggregate manufactured at the Vicat site showed a 30 per cent overall improvement of the LCA compared to the disposal of the residue and the manufacture of a concrete block with or without the carbon-negative aggregate. Depending on the reactivity of the residue, a singular CO2ntainer can permanently capture and store between 1,500 tonnes – 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In summary, we address two core sustainability issues faced by the cement industry today; decarbonisation and the sustainable management of the residues produced in its operations.
With the Indian cement industry being the second-largest producer of cement in the world, only second to China, with about 8 per cent of global installed capacity, we believe that there is considerable scope for our ACT solution to be deployed in India over the coming years.
Cement industry sees record growth amid booming construction demand
Glimpses from the 13th Cement Expo in Hyderabad.
“There’s no waste in India; everything is wealth,” was the thought-provoking idea that came from Dr Mohapatra, DG, NCCBM, as he shared his views on ‘Circular Economy and Sustainability’ at the recently concluded 8th Indian Cement Review Conference. The questions he raised and the ideas he presented were enriched with his decades of experience of working on research, development and analysis of alternative raw materials and renewable fuel for the cement industry. He highlighted the struggles in manufacturing blended cement and the opportunities that are available for its use. Finally, he suggested ways to ensure that each manufacturing plant falls within the gamut of a circular economy.
On his part Dr Sriharsha Reddy, Director, IMT Hyderabad, elaborating on ‘ESG – Green Financing: A new opportunity for the cement industry’, brought to light a number of important issues pertaining to fund procurement through traditional methods and the challenges therein.
Highlighting his views on carbon capture and its benefits for the cement manufacturers, Saurabh Palsania, Executive Director and Group Commercial Head, Dalmia Cement (Bharat), underscored the need to implement innovative technology and most importantly a proper strategy, in order to revolutionise the efforts towards net zero emissions. “Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is an investment-intensive process that also requires a commitment of time and labour. Keeping all these factors in mind, cement companies need to chart out an effective strategy to incorporate CCUS into their eco systems, ensure purity of the captured carbon and channel it towards predetermined activities for its optimum utility,” he said.
Pratap Padode, Founder & President, FIRST Construction Council, summarised the challenges faced by the Indian cement industry as well as the growth opportunities it presented for manufacturers in terms of technological innovation and capacity building. He supported his opinions with statistical findings and his in-depth knowledge about the Indian cement and construction industries.
Several discussions from the event highlighted several critical aspects of the cement industry.
ESG – Green Financing: A new opportunity for the cement industry
The cement industry has made progress in reducing energy consumption and power usage, but the challenge now lies in reducing carbon emissions. With breakthrough carbon capture technologies and solar calcination of limestone, the industry can work towards achieving zero CO2 emissions. However, the economic value of carbon capture needs to be explored, with government support through carbon labelling, trading, and green funds. Other solutions such as non-contact grinding and heat recovery from kilns can also be explored to bring emissions to zero. The industry can achieve sustainability and low carbon footprint with digital transformation and well-planned processes. To finance green initiatives, traditional lending institutions such as banks are now considering the economic value of eco-friendly practices. However, long-term loans remain a challenge, and other lending institutions such as venture capitalists and government grants need to be explored.
Demystifying digitalisation and maximising the value chain impact
Digitalisation is crucial in optimising all stages of cement production. Industry 4.0 has provided tools that help determine the desired product quality, which is vital in meeting customer demands. As the importance of ESG continues to grow, digitalisation can help improve processes and reduce environmental impact. Transparency is also key, and a cloud-based platform can facilitate this. Automation at the plant level is vital for both efficiency and safety. However, it is important to remember that profitability is also essential for sustainability. Therefore, implementing digital tools and automation must be done with a focus on achieving profitability without compromising on sustainability.
Innovative supply chain strategies in the cement industry
Innovative supply chain strategies are crucial for the cement industry to remain competitive, with logistics and transportation being at the forefront. Industry experts discussed that the key to cost efficiency lies in innovation in first and last mile connectivity. However, logistics should not be viewed as merely a commercial function, but rather as a technology function. By investing in technology, cement manufacturers can drive the supply chain in a much better way, enabling them to evaluate processes from a revenue angle rather than just cost.
Industry experts also agreed that logistics is the only differentiator a cement company can have today, rather than cost or quality. As such, it is essential for cement manufacturers to explore non-renewable sources of energy to address the energy demand for distribution. Automation is also considered a key element for future logistics solutions. With these innovative strategies in place, the cement industry can increase efficiency and sustainability, which in turn can positively impact the bottom line.
On his part, Gaurav Gautam, Head of Sales, Beumer Group, highlighted the innovations in material handling systems that the is undertaking in order to make the movement of finished products smoother along the supply chain. The company specialises in tailor-made intralogistics solutions that help maximise productivity of cement companies.
Truly, the 8th Indian Cement Review Conference brought the industry together in a informative discussion on thought-provoking ideas and suggestions. The presentation weremade by Jayesh Patil, Assistant Manager, Flow Aids, Martin Engineering; Nischal Basavaraj, Regional Head – South, Liugong India; Sasi M Kumar, Business Development Manager – Cement, ExxonMobil; and S Chakravarti, Managing Director, Ecodea Projects and Control.
The conference was held alongside the 13th Cement Expo and Indian Cement Review Awards 2023. Partners supporting the event included: Presenting Partner: ExxonMobil Lubricants; Gold Sponsor: JK Cement and PhillipCapital India; Silver Sponsor: LiuGong India; Associate Sponsor: Humboldt Wedag India; Presentation Partners: Martin Engineering Company India, Beumer India, and Ecodea Projects & Control; Logo Sponsor: Stotz Gears; and Exhibiting Partners: Toshniwal Industries; TIDC (Murugappa Group), and Ringfeder Power Transmission India.
Solutions to protect concrete against monsoon
Concrete patching compounds for repairing concrete window ledges.
As the monsoon season rapidly approaches in India, the urgency to address potential damage to the commonly used building material – concrete –intensifies. Weathering and loading can cause cracks and deterioration, impacting both the structure’s integrity and aesthetics and leading to water penetration and reinforcement corrosion. To ensure durability and prevent further damage, it is essential to promptly repair any concrete cracks.
Several structures face a common problem during monsoon season – holes created by water penetration or impact in concrete window sills. These not only affect the window’s appearance and functionality but also pose a safety hazard. Fortunately, various concrete repair compounds are available in India to fill such holes and restore the window sill. Don’t wait until it’s too late –CW researches some of the concrete repair compounds that could help protect concrete structures from monsoon damage:
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Heidelberg Materials secures SBTi validation
The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has validated Heidelberg Materials’ new 2030 CO2 reduction targets. The targets have a base year of 2020 and conform to a 1.5°C climate change framework. Per tonne of cementitious material, the producer is now committed to reducing its Scope 1 CO2 emissions by 24 per cent, its Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 65 per cent and its Scope 3 emissions by 25 per cent.
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