LEILAC Celebrates With Ribbon Cutting

LEILAC Pilot Plant

About LEILAC

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. 

Cost effective carbon capture technology took a step closer to becoming a reality for the cement and lime sectors, as the Leilac Consortium hosted the official ribbon-cutting of the newly completed Direct Separation pilot plant at HeidelbergCement’s Lixhe site in Belgium. 

Cost effective carbon capture technology took a step closer to becoming a reality for the cement and lime sectors, as the Leilac Consortium hosted the official ribbon-cutting of the newly completed Direct Separation pilot plant at HeidelbergCement’s Lixhe site in Belgium. 

The Consortium partners were joined by members of the external advisory board (CEMBUREAU, ECRA, the European Lime Association, and the Global Cement and Concrete Association) at the official event, which also included a tour of the new pilot plant.

The concept of Direct Separation technology and its potential to capture unavoidable process emissions from the production of cement and lime was conceived by Calix’s Chief Scientist Mark Sceats back in 2014. In 2016, the Consortium [led by Calix and comprising HeidelbergCement, Cemex, Lhoist, Tarmac, ECO TNO, Imperial College, PSE, Quantis and the Carbon Trust] secured €12 million from the European Commission Horizon 2020 Grant programme to demonstrate this breakthrough carbon capture technology that aims to enable Europe’s cement and lime industries to reduce their carbon footprint significantly. The industry partners committed a further €9 million towards the project.

A combination of commitment, technical expertise and critical innovation funding has helped to accelerate the development of this technology, allowing the pilot to be conceived, developed, constructed and embark on its first tests in a fully operational environment in under four years. 

Welcoming the group, Mr Christoph Streicher, General Manager Benelux, HeidelbergCement iterated the importance of innovation projects like Leilac to help the company realise its ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and that they were proud to host the Leilac pilot. Peter Lukas, Director Global Environmental Sustainability echoed Mr Streicher’s sentiments calling Leilac a real breakthrough technology, but called for further support to ensure that the wider industry can demonstrate to politicians and the public that a viable solution to tackle unavoidable carbon emissions related to cement production can be delivered.

Calix CEO Phil Hodgson emphasised that this Leilac project milestone was reached on time and within budget - a significant achievement for an innovation project of this scale. The expertise across structural and process engineering, material science and modelling provided by Calix, HeidelbergCement, Cemex, ECN TNO, Imperial College London and PSE to get the project to this stage was also acknowledged.

The Leilac pilot plant will undergo significant testing over the next 18 months. Results are expected to be released throughout the duration of the testing period.