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Low Emissions Intensity Lime & Cement

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This project has received € 12m of funding from Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation of the European Union under the grant agreement No 654465.


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

Carbon Capture (Utilisation & Storage) is not yet included in the best available technologies for cement and lime. The international and EU community recognises that CO2 emissions contribute to climate change, and the only economical viable approach to reducing such emissions to-date for the cement and lime industries has been to increase kiln efficiencies and utilise alternative fuels with important waste biomass fractions. Once tested in LEILAC and scaled up, Direct Separation with CO2 capture should reduce the costs of carbon capture considerably, and accelerate the deployment in both industries.

Direct Separation provides a common platform for CCUS in both the cement and lime industries, and seeks to effectively “future-proof” these industries against tighter emissions standards for CO2 emission reductions and CO2 capture.


A follow-on project – LEILAC2 – starting 2020, having been awarded €16m funding by the EU Horizon 2020 program and supported by additional industry contributions.

LEILAC2 will build a Demonstration Plant that will intend to separate 20% of a regular plant’s process emissions –around 100 ktpa of CO2. This aims to also demonstrate the overall efficiency of the technology, as the reactor will be integrated into the kiln line in a kind of second preheater string configuration. In this configuration, the calcined material is directly fed to the existing rotary kiln so that the impact on clinker quality as well as the energy-efficiency can be demonstrated. The demonstration plant will also show the applicability of less carbon intensive heat sources for the required calcination heat, i.a. the use of electricity and alternative (biomass rich) fuels. The project will ultimately seek to validate the anticipated Capex and Opex for full scale application, a modular design for scale-up, operability and maintenance details, and integration and plant layout considerations.

HeidelbergCement, again displaying significant support and willingness to support very novel carbon capture technology developments, has kindly agreed to closely integrate the Demonstration plant into one of their operational plants in Germany. Engineering, supported by HeidebergCement, IKN, CEMEX, CIMPOR, Certh, Polimi and Calix, has commenced on this ambitious build. With the aim of achieving a commercially relevant solution as quickly as possible, and addressing the main remaining risks as fully as possible, this plant aims to become operational by 2023.

Supported by Engie Laborelec, LEILAC2 will also oversee the electrification of the LEILAC 1 Pilot plant. This will test the ability for fast ramp up/down times for the process using electricity (switching rapidly from fuel to electricity). This potentially could enable cement plant to be intermittently used by the grid to balance power-peaks and stabilise the grid, a key demand for the wider energy transition by enabling more renewable generation without the need for additional intermittent generation from fossil fuel power stations or losses and expenses of large scale batteries/energy storage.

In addition to the main technology targets that will be demonstrated, the project scope includes a thorough analysis of the potential destination of the captured CO2, either for use processes, as well as for safe geological storage. While there are no plans to actually store or use the CO2 from the Demonstration plant, this analysis will enable a better understanding of the general and local situation and potential use or storage options.