National Cement parent premiers Carbon8 aggregate processing

Paris-based Vicat Group is on track to commercialize lightweight aggregate derived from a process capturing carbon dioxide-heavy cement kiln emissions. The parent of the National Cement businesses in Alabama and California has signed an agreement with Carbon8 Systems, London, to run a containerized processing system at the Montalieu mill in southeastern France.

Carbon8 containerized equipment and Accelerated Carbonization Technology convert cement kiln exhaust into construction-grade synthetic limestone. A 2018 demonstration at CRH Cement Canada (above) paved the way for the technology’s commercial launch at Vicat Montalieu (below). After working with Vicat, CRH and Hanson Cement, Carbon8 Systems is in advanced discussions with producers across the globe to deploy the CO₂ntainer and Accelerated Carbonization Technology.

The CO2tainer system is equipped with Carbon8’s Accelerated Carbonization Technology, which introduces reactive compounds into streams of calcining phase CO₂ exiting the cement kiln. Controlled reaction within the twin-container system expedites conversion of the gas to calcium or magnesium carbonate in fine to coarse grades suiting concrete or other aggregate applications. Vicat Montalieu becomes the first commercial CO₂ntainer deployment, following 2018-19 demonstrations at the CRH Canada Cement Missaugua, Ontario and Hanson Cement, United Kingdom plants.  

“Securing a commercial agreement with Vicat, a family-run cement company with a strong commitment to process innovation and sustainability, is a massive endorsement of our technology and the research & development work that we have carried out over recent years,” says Carbon8 Systems Technical Director Dr. Paula Carey. “We are delighted that Vicat has chosen Carbon8 Systems to help reduce its carbon emissions and, at the same time, create a potential new income stream for their business.”

“As part of our commitment to limit environmental impact, Vicat has looked at a number of innovative ideas to reduce carbon emissions,” adds Vicat Scientific Director Dr. Laury Barnes-Davin. “We are attracted by Carbon8 Systems’ two-part technology proposition: Capturing the CO₂ that Montalieu emits and using it to produce an aggregate that can be marketed to industry. We are excited by its potential for our operations elsewhere in France and around the world.”


Technical potential of carbon capture use and storage volumes by 2030 in metric megatons per year

SOURCE: June 2020 McKinsey Quarterly

When measuring carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) prospects, the potential role of cement production, mineralization of synthetic aggregates (note companion Carbon8/Vicat article), carbon dioxide-enabled concrete curing, plus carbon dioxide absorption in finished slabs and structures is not lost on global management consultant McKinsey. Four partners recently reported on CCUS technologies; developments that could accelerate CCUS adoption; and, the economics of a range of use and storage scenarios. While not diminishing the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the use of renewable energy and other tested strategies, CCUS offers what they contend as “considerable potential for reducing emissions in particularly hard-to-abate sectors, such as cement and steel production.” By 2030, cement and concrete production and finishing processes could result in upward of 150 million metric megatons of CO₂ emissions annually.

“Driving CO₂ emissions to zero (and beyond) with carbon capture, use, and storage” report authors are McKinsey Associate Partner Krysta Biniek (London office), Partner Kimberly Henderson (Washington, D.C.), Senior Partner Matt Rogers (San Francisco), and Associate Partner Gregory Santoni (Houston).