Ribblesdale cement plant hosts first UK net-zero commercial fuel trial

Ribblesdale cement plant hosts first UK net-zero commercial fuel trial
30 September 2021

A UK cement kiln has successfully been operated using a net zero fuel as part of a world-first demonstration using hydrogen technology. 

Led by the Mineral Products Association (MPA), Hanson UK and funded by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the trial used a mix of 100 per cent net zero fuels for commercial-scale cement manufacture for the first time. The fuel mix consisted of tanker-delivered hydrogen as well as meat and bone meal (MBM) and glycerine, demonstrating the pathway to moving away from using fossil fuels in cement and concrete production. During the demonstration at Hanson Cement’s Ribblesdale plant in Lancashire the proportion of fuels in the cement kiln’s main burner was gradually increased to a wholly net zero mix of grey hydrogen. In future this will be switched to green hydrogen.

If fully implemented for the whole kiln system nearly 180,000t of CO2 could be saved each year at Ribblesdale alone compared to using the traditional fuel of coal at the site. 

Dr Richard Leese, MPA director of industrial policy, energy and climate change, said: "This world first trial has demonstrated the potential of using net zero fuel mixes for the manufacture of cement at commercial scale. 

Energy & Climate Change Minister, Greg Hands, said: "This project, supported by GBP3.2m in government funding, is a key example of how we are supporting industry to reduce emissions and move away from relying on fossil fuels. Fuel switching and developing hydrogen technology will be vital for decarbonising industries such as cement production, and will help us further develop the green infrastructure needed as we drive forward the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution."

The GBP3.2m project has been funded by BEIS as part of its Industrial Fuel Switching Competition and is part of fuel switching trials managed by MPA at two sites.  

A demonstration using plasma energy with biofuel in the kiln's calciner will be taking place at a site in Derbyshire operated by Tarmac, alongside another trial exploring the use of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for lime manufacturing.

Published under Cement News