Energy and Climate Protection
Climate protection is a core element of HeidelbergCement’s environmental policy. As an energy-intensive company, we have been making a substantial effort to minimise our CO2 emissions for many years now. From 1990 to 2016 we reduced our specific net CO2 emissions by 22,6% to 598 kg CO2 per tonne of cement. For 2030, our aim is to further reduce the emissions by around 20 million tonnes of CO2 per year compared with the level of 1990.
The measures that we are taking to lower CO2 emissions include:
- continuous investment in energy-efficient technologies and production processes,
- the promotion of composite cements, through which the clinker content of our entire cement production has now been reduced to 74,4%,
- the increased use of alternative fuels including biomass (21,4% of our entire energy consumption in 2016).
New technologies for capturing and using CO2
HeidelbergCement greatly intensified its efforts to develop technologies for the use of CO2 as a raw material. To this end, the company also formed promising new partnerships. This has enabled us to take the lead in this area in the cement industry.
In 2015, we tested four different technologies for separating CO2 from combustion exhaust gases at our plant in Brevik, Norway. On the basis of a preliminary study conducted in 2016, the Norwegian government has now decided to carry out a comprehensive feasibility study for the construction of a large-scale CO2 separation facility at the same plant. The study will investigate whether 400,000 tonnes of CO2 can be separated annually by an amine scrubber and stored underground. This facility would be the first major CCS (carbon capture and storage) plant in the cement industry.
HeidelbergCement is participating in the EU-funded CEMCAP project for promoting the use of CO2 separation technologies in the cement industry. Within the context of this project, we are working to further develop the oxy-fuel technology. The oxy-fuel method uses pure CO2 rather than ambient air to cool off heated clinker. The gas is then fed into the combustion process through a rotary kiln. Pure oxygen is channelled into the rotary kiln for the combustion process. Because this combustion process also produces CO2, a very pure stream of CO2 exhaust gas is created from which only a small amount of gaseous impurities has to be removed. That makes the CO2 much easier to use.
HeidelbergCement is also playing a major role in the LEILAC (Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement) project. The goal here is to demonstrate the technological and economic feasibility of a process technology that helps separate CO2 in a highly pure form when the latter is released by the combustion of the raw material. This approach complements the oxy-fuel process described above.
Further information about our innovations and initiatives regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions can be found in our sustainability report.