The project will demonstrate the potential of these technologies to reduce carbon emissions through fuel switching from fossil fuels in cement and lime production.
The cement trials are to take place at sites operated by Tarmac and Hanson Cement. The cement production trial comprises two demonstrations, one of electrical plasma energy and biomass fuel and the other of hydrogen and biomass energy.
The UK lime production trials will take place at a site operated by Tarmac - demonstrating the applicability of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for lime manufacturing. The MPA says both projects will see their results shared to their wider industries and supply chains, to spread the benefit to UK and global industry, and maximise the environmental benefit of the technology. The MPA projects are forecast to be completed by the end of March 2021.
The demonstration projects follow a BEIS-funded feasibility study in 2019 which found that a combination of 70% biomass, 20% hydrogen and 10% plasma energy could be used to eliminate fossil fuel CO₂ emissions from cement manufacturing. The aim now is to test that theory.
Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, commented: “Reducing emissions from homes and industry is a key part of our work to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.
“This innovative project by MPA and its members is an exciting development and could make a significant impact on our net zero ambitions.”
Dr Richard Leese, MPA director - industrial policy, energy and climate change said that the fuel switching research is ground-breaking for the cement and lime industries.
"Our members have made huge strides in reducing carbon emissions by using waste derived and biomass fuels, and this research will be a cutting-edge demonstration of how it could be possible to operate cement and lime kilns with a ‘net zero’ fuel mix," Leese added. "This could be a significant step change in emissions reduction with global deployment potential.”
Mike Eberlin, MD of Tarmac’s cement & lime business, said: “Collaborative working and embracing innovative technologies are key in our collective efforts to create a lower carbon, resilient built environment and we’re proud to be involved in such an important project which will help inform industry and Government strategic plans on decarbonisation.”
Hanson UK CEO Simon Willis added: “These BEIS-funded research projects could represent a significant step change in supporting the UK government’s sustainable development goals as it responds to climate change.”