Agency funds carbon capture research at top North American cement mill

Source: LafargeHolcim, Chicago

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory has committed $4 million to a University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute project studying  carbon capture methods at the Holcim (US) Ste. Genevieve cement mill in Missouri. LafargeHolcim and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction will participate through cost share contributions.

The project will add to University of Illinois’ carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) roster. Investigators will aim for a cement plant retrofit method that can separate up to 95 percent of carbon dioxide otherwise released to the environment, the captured gas ready for pipeline transfer to geological storage. The design will employ Air Liquide’s Crycocap FG system, which combines Pressure Swing Adsorption capabilities with cryogenic refrigeration technologies to achieve high gas capture and purity rates.

“While we have partnered with energy-generation facilities on many of our carbon management projects, carbon from industrial sources is also a key piece of the puzzle,” says Prairie Research Institute Principal Investigator Kevin OBrien. Exploring carbon capture technology at commercial scale—North America’s largest cement operation, no less—holds “the potential for significant impact.”

“We recognize that in our industry, the ability to decarbonize is the real game changer. This project selected by U.S. DOE is another significant step in advancing large-scale CCUS technology in our industry,” adds LafargeHolcim Head of Cement Industrial Performance, North America Derick Dreyer. “This partnership is a powerful example of how collaboration across industry, the public sector and academia can advance carbon capture, utilization and storage projects that are the critical steps to accelerating the transition to a net-zero future.”