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Cement companies explore carbon capture

15 Dec 23 British carbon capture specialist Nuada is partnering with four international cement companies to test how its technology can reduce emissions from cement production.

Belfast-based start-up Nuada builds filtration machines that capture carbon dioxide from industrial off-gases, enabling emitters in heavy industry sectors to reduce their carbon footprint.

It is now working with the Global Cement & Concrete Association (GCCA), and specifically Holcim, SCG, Cementos Argos and Cementos Molins.

The GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Concrete Roadmap reckons that carbon capture could achieve more than a third of all the emission reductions needed in cement production, but the high capital cost of equipment and the energy intensity of available solutions make the economics “challenging”.

Jose Casaban, co-chief executive of Nuada, said: “Carbon capture represents the largest cost element in the CCUS [carbon capture utilisation and storage] value chain. Innovation in carbon capture is vital to slashing the cost of capture, enabling the ramp-up of infrastructure and ultimately improving the economics of CCS projects. Nuada redefines carbon capture by deploying a solution that addresses the cost, energy, and integrational challenges for harder-to-abate sectors like cement.”

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The cement producers will work with Nuada to evaluate its next-generation carbon capture technology as a solution to produce low-carbon cement. The new partnerships were facilitated through the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), complementing existing collaborations with Buzzi Unicem, Cementir Holding, and Heidelberg Materials, established through the Innovandi Open Challenge programme. This programme brings start-ups and leading cement companies together to work on net zero initiatives.

“The commitment of these major cement players to collaborate with Nuada, attests to the potential of our carbon capture innovation as a cornerstone solution for low-carbon cement, and we eagerly anticipate working together to accelerate its deployment,” said Conor Hamill, Nuada’s other co-chief executive.

Holcim’s head of research & development, Edelio Bermejo, said: “We are very pleased to join the consortium through the Innovandi Open Challenge programme. Carbon capture is a key lever to accelerate our decarbonisation journey, and with CCUS projects around the world and a commitment to invest CHF 2 billion (£1.8bn) by 2030, we are leading our industry’s transition to a net-zero future. Partnering with Nuada will facilitate the testing and accelerate the deployment of their technology, ultimately supporting the scaling up of carbon capture efforts. We look forward to continued innovation and collaboration within the industry towards the goal of a net-zero future.”

Cementos Argos future tech leader Daniel Duque said: “GCCA Innovandi Open Challenge is a tremendous initiative where cement players collaborate with innovative companies that are developing the technologies and business models of a low CO2 construction industry. Nuada technology is a very interesting proposal with great potential.”

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