Innovation in Industrial Carbon Capture Conference 2020

LEILAC Pilot Plant


LEILAC (Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement) will pilot a breakthrough technology that has the potential to enable both Europe’s cement and lime industries to reduce their emissions dramatically while retaining, or even increasing international competitiveness.

The best available technologies for cement and lime have no carbon capture capability.  The international and EU community recognises that CO2 emissions contribute to climate change, and the most practical approach to reducing such emissions to-date for the cement and lime industries has been to increase kiln efficiencies and utilise alternative fuels. 

LEILAC and initial technical results

Phil Hodgson, CEO of Calix, provided an overview of the LEILAC, and the recently built pilot’s technical results.


Concrete is a highly durable material and when used effectively, it helps buildings to be extremely energy-efficient. Demand will increase due to the global population growth and the trend to further urbanisation. However, cement production is CO2 intensive (8% of global CO2 emissions). The majority of these CO2 emissions are released directly and unavoidably from the processing of the raw materials – not from the combustion of fossil fuels.

LEILAC is piloting a new technology that re-engineers the existing process flows by indirectly heating the limestone. This system developed by Calix enables CO2 to be captured as it is released from the limestone because the furnace exhaust gases are kept separate. The design should also capable of working with a variety of energy sources (from electricity to alternative fuels) and other capture options.

This simple and effective solution requires no additional chemicals, energy, or processes - and aims to be an effective, very low-cost carbon capture option.

An overview of the project was given, including how it progressed through a parallel track of research, development and engineering during its initial years of operation – though the collaborative actions of all its partners.


The LEILAC project involves the construction of a pilot plant at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium. Extensive research, development and engineering was necessary to design and construct the first-of-a-kind pilot - which was brought in on time and on budget.


It will have a feed rate capacity of up to 240 tonnes per day of raw meal for cement production (the equivalent to 5% of a typical cement plant’s capacity) and 200 tonnes ground limestone, operating over a continuous basis for several weeks at a time.

With the commencement of operations, albeit not yet pushed to maximum capacity, initial trials of the LEILAC pilot are extremely promising and that the technology is working as expected. It has successfully demonstrated that limestone can be processed; that the CO2 is successfully separated; that there have been no negative impacts on the host plant, and no impact on clinker production; and that the pilot is safe and easy to operate, with no safety incidents.

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Engineering actions are currently being undertaken, enabling the 4th phase of testing to optimise operational conditions, throughput, and increase run lengths.

The plans for the next LEILAC Project at another cement plant in Europe were briefly discussed. LEILAC 2 will see industry partners Cimpor, Lhoist, Port of Rotterdam and IKN join Calix, HeidelbergCement and other research partners to work together on a larger Demonstration plant, capturing around 20% of a typical cement plant process CO2.

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Ziad Habib, Global Director Manufacturing Process Innovation at Lhoist, provided an overview of the impact LEILAC from Lime perspective.  He indicated the wide range of products, and kilns, used by the lime industry, and both some of the challenges facing the application of the LEILAC technology, and potential advantages – highlighting that these research and development projects are high risk, and have to work well, and in a very cost-competitive industry.


Closing remarks were provided by Claude Lorea, Cement Director Global Cement and Concrete Association - which represents around 50% of global cement production capacity.

She highlighted that CCS is critical in enabling CO2 reductions in the cement industry by 2050 – but that in order to get there, it is necessary to: Leverage global perspectives; Bring new ideas forward; Share new thinking; Encourage best practice; and Accelerate new technologies- welcoming the steps that the LEILAC Project and the Innovation in Industrial Carbon Capture Conference is taking.