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Lime industry update

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World Cement,

The lime industry and the environment

The European Lime Association (EuLA) contributed its thoughts regarding the issues that need to be considered during the development of a 2030 framework for Climate and Energy policies. Generally, the EuLA is in support of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), but still considers carbon leakage to be a challenge that needs addressing. In its report on the topic, the EuLA calls ‘worrying’ the fact that ‘several countries in the EU neighbourhood did not follow the EU’s climate leadership’, meaning that any reductions achieved within the EU could easily be compensated through imports.

Best available technology

The EuLA also points out that, in terms of further GHG reductions, there is little remaining potential for some sectors, including lime. This is due to the high percentage of process emissions generated during lime production, which cannot be avoided without changing the final product quality. They also state that ‘no further breakthrough technologies in energy efficiency are expected’ within the lime industry, which would be another avenue by which emissions could potentially be reduced. The widely used Parallel Flow Regenerative Kiln is the most energy efficient technology available.


While renewable energy sources have been heavily backed by the EU, the availability and cost of biomass have posed a challenge for the lime industry. The EuLA states: ‘The targets for stimulating the use of renewable energy sources have in the past led to a reduced availability of biomass for kiln-firing. EuLA would therefore recommend to only set a GHG reduction target. No binding renewables target is necessary because the most competitive renewables should be considered as being at equal level as conventional energy sources and should play the market rules.’ The EuLA goes on to suggest that if renewables targets are set, they should exclude biomass or other sources that are not sufficiently available.

Carbon capture and storage

The EuLA is asking that any reduction target for 2030 should only take into account technologies that are currently feasible and should not assume the availability of CCS. A study has estimated the cost of capturing CO2 at the kiln is likely to be between €61 and €100 per tonne of CO2 avoided, without accounting for the cost of transport and storage. The EuLA suggests that the EU should offer transport and storage as a public service, given these high costs. In a separate report, Future of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in Europe, the EuLA asks for recognition of the fact that lime products – such as lime-based mortars – have the potential to capture and permanently store CO2 during their lifetime. ‘EuLA estimates that around 70 – 90% of the CO2 emitted during the calcination of the limestone is sequestrated again by the lime-based mortar in the short-term,’ the report states, adding that further research is required to characterise the process.

Written by Katherine Guenioui. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the January 2014 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article, including news from companies such as Maerz, Carmeuse and Graymont, by logging in.

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