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Holcim's Carbon2Business project receives €109.8 million in EU funding

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World Cement,

Holcim will continue to build on innovative solutions in the future and is taking the next big step towards the cement revolution. The Carbon2Business project in Lägerdorf (Schleswig-Holstein) is receiving €109.8 million in funding from the European Union (EU). On January 19, Thorsten Hahn, CEO of Holcim Germany, officially accepted the grant certificate in Brussels.

Carbon2Business is one of two projects in Germany and 17 projects in total that the EU is funding with around €1.8 billion from the innovation fund. Holcim itself is investing a three-digit million amount in the project, with which around 1.2 million tons of CO2 emissions can be avoided each year at the Lägerdorf site alone.

The fact that Carbon2Business was selected was due to the assessment of independent experts who, as part of the EU selection process, assessed, among other things, the extent to which the projects to be funded can reduce greenhouse gases compared to conventional technologies and create innovations that go beyond the state of the art. Maturity, scalability and cost-effectiveness were also among the selection criteria.

New Kiln saves 1.2 million t of CO2

The EU funds are used to build a new kiln line. This is an industrial-scale prototype for the decarbonisation of cement production. Technically, the oven uses second-generation oxyfuel technology and a downstream compression and purification unit for the CO2.

In the oxyfuel process, pure oxygen is fed into the combustion process of the cement kiln instead of ambient air. The oxygen required for this comes from electrolysis projects in which industrial partners want to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity from renewable energies.

The result of the oxyfuel process in the cement kiln is high-purity CO2, which can be separated and then processed into methanol through methanol synthesis or processed as a raw material for the chemical industry to produce plastics, for example. Holcim works closely with specialists from Linde Engineering on processing.

“We are developing our plant in Schleswig-Holstein into a pioneer in green cement production. This is a technological beacon with international appeal,” said Thorsten Hahn on the sidelines of the award ceremony. "The EU funding is an important milestone and enables us to decisively advance the cement turnaround."

From greenhouse gas to raw material for industry

In addition to Linde Engineering, Holcim relies on thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG as a technology partner for the project. “The success of the energy transition is also determined by the question of sustainable, i.e. CO2-neutral, production of building materials. The pure oxyfuel technology will be an essential part of the answer and thus contribute to the success of the green transformation of the cement industry," says Pablo Hofelich, CEO of the Polysius business unit at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.

"Together with our partners, we are developing an efficient recycling concept on Schleswig-Holstein's west coast and at our location in Lägerdorf as part of an innovative hydrogen economy that can serve as a model for the cement industry and other sectors worldwide," explains Arne Stecher, Head of Decarbonization at Holcim Germany. Holcim and its partner companies are thus creating new value chains and developing technologies that also enable the climate-neutral conversion of industrial companies beyond the cement industry.

The official start of the Carbon2Business project took place with the presentation of the funding certificate and the ceremony in Brussels. Between the end of 2023 and 2024, Holcim plans to submit the planning documents for the construction of the oxyfuel furnace. Approval for construction is expected by the end of 2024. By 2029, one of the first climate-neutral cement plants in the world can go into operation in Lägerdorf.

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