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Lafarge France accelerates low-carbon transformation

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World Cement,


Lafarge France is accelerating its low-carbon transformation and increasing investments and innovations to decarbonise construction.

Industrial investments

Thanks to an investment of €120 million, the largest in France for 40 years, Lafarge France teams have completed the modernisation of the Martres-Tolosane cement plant (department 31). Coming into service in February 2022, it increases the production capacity of low-carbon cement while reducing its environmental impact.

In addition, €40 million has been invested this year in the Saint-Pierre-La-Cour cement plant (department 53) and €6 million in La Malle (department 13) to produce low cement and carbon products (ECOPlanet), with a carbon-free addition benefiting from the patented proximA Tech technology.

With a low-carbon strategy and innovations to change the construction sector, Lafarge France will market two new low-carbon ternary cements this summer, a CEM II (produced in Sète, dep. 34) and the first CEM VI available in France (manufactured in Teil, dep. 07). These new cements offer a carbon reduction of – 30% to – 50% and enrich the low-carbon offers ECOPlanet (cement) and ECOPact (concrete).

As part of a proactive approach to accelerate the ecological transition of construction, Lafarge France supports its customers in the gradual replacement of the most emissive cements. For the prefabrication sector, it is initially a question of increasing the use of CEM II, then of ECOPlanet cements, instead of CEM I while guaranteeing the same level of performance and the absence of any impact on the manufacturing processes.

Finally, Lafarge France has developed and successfully tested a new generation low-carbon, low-clinker and slag-free binder. This patented binder allows the production of concrete at – 50% CO2 without using slag. It does not modify construction methods and worksite gestures.

As a leader, the company is committed and gives a new dynamic to sustainable construction and to an entire sector.

A modern production line in France in Martres-Tolosane (dep. 31) and an open innovation platform for CO2 treatment in 2024

The new kiln at the Martres-Tolosane cement plant went into production in February. The result of an investment of €120 million by the Holcim group, the brand new kiln increases the plant's productivity while reducing its environmental impact. Moreover, equipped with the latest technologies for recycling waste in the cement plant (as a source of energy and as a raw material recycled in clinker), the plant has cut its use of fossil fuels. The share of substitute fuels, sourced locally, thus increases from 30% to 80% and contributes to the development of the circular economy in the greater South-West. To achieve these results:

  • The two existing furnaces (built in 1956 and 1966) were replaced by a single furnace 60 m long and 4 m in diameter, making it possible to reduce energy consumption.
  • A preheating tower of 110 m high was constructed, allowing the mixture of limestone and clay to be heated to 500°C before being introduced into the kiln.
  • New storage and processing workshops were renovated and created for waste used as alternative fuel.

The Martres-Tolosane site will also host an open innovation R&D platform in 2024 to test new, more efficient, more economical and more environmentally friendly CO2 capture technologies. About fifteen European partners are grouped around this initiative which is a candidate for community funding and will be referenced in the European research network on CO2 capture.

A new investment of €40 million at the Saint-Pierre-La-Cour cement plant (department 53) and €6 million euros at La Malle (department 13) to produce a new carbon-free component

As of this year, €40 million will be invested in the construction of a new production line at the cement plant in Saint-Pierre-La-Cour (53) and in the adaptation of the industrial process in La Malle (13) to produce low carbon cements (ECOPlanet), based on calcined clay.

Lafarge has developed a proprietary technology, proximA Tech, allowing for the transformation of clay into carbon-free additions. The use of clay has a triple advantage: it requires a lower temperature for firing (800°C instead of 1400°C for clinker) and therefore less fuel. The Pierre-La-Cour cement plant is designed to emit almost no carbon thanks to the exclusive use of alternative fuels and to produce cements whose carbon emission rate will be reduced by 50%.

These investments contribute to the achievement of the 2023 objective – to have a production capacity of 1 million t of these ECOPlanet low-carbon cements.

Strategy and innovations towards low carbon

Lafarge launches two new ternary cements offering 30% to 50% carbon reduction

The revision of the European cement standard NF EN 197-5, published last October, has made it possible to formulate new cements with a reduced share of clinker in favour of a larger proportion of additives, thus reducing CO2 emissions per ton produced.

Lafarge France will therefore be marketing two new low-carbon ternary cements this year, a CEM II/C produced in Sète (department 34) and the first CEM VI available in France. This CEM VI ECOPlanet, manufactured in Teil (department 07) will be available as soon as the new concrete standard is released, expected for next May or June. These new cements offer a carbon reduction of – 30% to – 50% and enrich the low-carbon offers of ECOPlanet (cement) and ECOPact (concrete).

Lafarge supports its customers in the gradual replacement of the most emissive cements, a proactive approach to accelerate the ecological transition of construction

As part of a proactive approach to accelerate the ecological transition of construction, Lafarge France supports its customers in the gradual replacement of the most emissive cements. For the prefabrication sector, it is initially a question of increasing the use of CEM II, then of ECOPlanet cements, instead of CEM I, while guaranteeing the same level of performance and the absence of impact on the manufacturing processes.

Lafarge has mobilised the skills of its laboratory in L'Isle D'Abeau in order to guarantee compliance with the required technical performance (rheology, admixture, resistance at young age, at 28 days, colour, etc.). Access to products has also been made easier for customers to allow them to carry out their own tests, with their industrial tools.

A breakthrough Lafarge innovation: the new generation low-carbon, low-clinker and slag-free binder

Lafarge France has developed and successfully tested a new generation low carbon binder with a reduced clinker content, making it possible to dispense with slag

A patented process makes it possible to reduce the quantity of clinker required in the binder and to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete by up to 50%, without using slag, a response to its scarcity announced for the coming years. Concretes made with these binders can cover traditional strength and exposure classes (C20 to C35/XC to XF, etc.). They are intended for all types of structures and all applications (floors, foundations, walls, etc.).

This technology does not impact construction times and adapts to temperatures. It allows local production and therefore massive and rapid marketing. The standards corresponding to this new product do not exist for the moment, even if several experimental site tests have already been carried out. Lafarge has therefore initiated an ATEX certification procedure for concrete and a Technical Assessment of Products and Materials (ETPM).

Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/16032022/lafarge-france-accelerates-low-carbon-transformation/

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