CEMEX and Synhelion announced they have developed a technology designed to fully decarbonize the cement manufacturing process based on solar energy. This advancement is an important element of CEMEX’s current climate action strategy. Synhelion, based in Switzerland, is a global pioneer in the field of sustainable solar fuels and process heat.
Artist Rendering courtesy of CEMEX
The radically new approach is based on replacing the use of fossil fuels in cement plants with high- temperature solar heat, and capturing 100 percent of the carbon emissions, which are then utilized as feedstock for fuel production, enabling cement manufacturing to achieve net-zero level. This is made possible by the unprecedented temperature levels of solar heat provided by Synhelion’s technology and its pioneering process to turn CO2 into synthetic drop-in fuels.
This solution is the very first to offer a comprehensive approach to decarbonize the cement industry. Following the research collaboration completed in spring 2020, CEMEX and Synhelion plan to adopt a staged approach towards implementing the technology. A pilot installation is expected to be incorporated into an existing CEMEX cement plant by the end of 2022 and gradually extended to a fully solar-driven plant.
“We are witnessing a completely novel way to manage the emissions from cement production by using solar heat in an advanced and sophisticated manner,” said Davide Zampini, CEMEX Head of Global R&D and IP Management. “The partnership with Synhelion reinforces our determination to decarbonize cement production and is the outcome of our persistent R&D efforts to develop sustainable solutions as well as identify strategic partners at the forefront of innovation. Synhelion shares our commitment to closing the carbon cycle and our collaboration should enable CEMEX to accelerate the pace towards achieving its net-zero CO2 ambition for 2050.”
PHOTO: Render of a solar cement plant. The solar tower delivers high-temperature process heat.