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Mon August 26 2019

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Study sets out the path towards climate-neutral cement

31 Jan Vattenfall and Cementa have completed a pilot study as part of their plan for the fossil-free production of cement.

Results from the pilot study in the CemZero project have confirmed that the technical prerequisites exist for electrified cement production.

The objective for CemZero is cement production using electricity from a fossil-free Swedish energy system. The first part of CemZero is now concluding and a final report has been submitted to the Swedish Energy Agency, which has co-financed the study.

The pilot study has examined different technologies for heating in the cement process, with fossil-free electricity used as the energy source instead of conventional fuels.

"Achieving radical emissions reductions requires advances in technology,” said Cementa CEO Magnus Ohlsson. “CemZero opens up an interesting path which we are looking forward to taking further.”

"It is very positive that we can proceed with the work of electrifying the cement industry, it is one of the most important examples of new collaborations for technology development which can make a substantial contribution to the efforts to create a fossil-free future,” said Magnus Hall, president and CEO at Vattenfall.

The principal conclusions of the study are:

Electrification of the heating in the cement process appears to be technically possible. Among other things it has been shown to produce a certain amount of cement clinker based entirely on plasma technology. This possibility needs to be verified through large scale testing.

An electrified solution for cement is competitive compared with other alternatives in order to achieve radical reductions in emissions. The study demonstrates an approximate doubling of the production cost for the cement, but ultimately only entails a cost increase of a couple of per cent for the finished building or infrastructure.

Simulations have indicated that any future electrification of Cementa's factory on Gotland would work well together with planned expansion of wind energy on Gotland, partly through an improved energy balance, but also through reduction of the maximum surplus capacity to which wind energy would otherwise give rise.

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