Vicat to invest EUR800m to meet 2030 climate targets

Vicat to invest EUR800m to meet 2030 climate targets
19 November 2021

This week, Vicat held a meeting at L'Isle d'Abeau on the company's climate strategy. The French producer has been describing how it will meet its 2030 and 2050 emission targets throughout its value chain in building materials. Vicat reports that just to meet its 2030 objectives it will need to invest an estimated EUR800m.

Capex investment of this magnitude will be shared with clinker factor and activated clay investment accounting for 30 per cent of the budget, fuel substitution representing 27 per cent, WHR and green energy totalling seven per cent, kiln efficiency projects accounting for six per cent, and transportation and others receiving 30 per cent of the funds.

By region, in Europe the emissions trading scheme (ETS) will see the largest investment taking 59 per cent of the pot, the rest of the world will see 36 per cent of the investment and the USA will receive five per cent.

Forward climate strategy
Vicat states that two realities currently exist across different countries in terms of climate change plans. The first involves countries with a strong climate plan and the second features fast-growing countries with climate action plans that are not fully developed. It believes that these two realities will converge over time. However, Vicat argues that, "decarbonisation is technically possible but only economically feasible if environmental regulations are adapted and governments support this approach."

The group favours the establishment of a market environment conducive to carbon neutrality through regulation, standardisation and financial support. Vicat believes that large investments will be required by 2050, which will generate a significant increase in costs, leading to price increases. However, Vicat argues that these price increases will be manageable for end users and absorbed by the market. This view is based on data from the French Environmental Agency (ADEME), which reports that the impact on the cost of housing will remain low at around 0.6 per cent.

Action levers to reduce CO2 emissions for Vicat will include replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuels and developing waste treatment businesses. The clinker factor will be reduced by using locally available materials such as calcined clays, limestone or pozzolans. Low-carbon concrete solutions will also be developed and bolt-on concrete acquisitions will be pursued. In addition, Vicat aims to prepare for the concentrated production of CO2 as an economic opportunity for new products.

Vicat's roadmap and projects
Vicat has set a 2030 emission limit for the group of 540kg CO2/net tonne of cement produced, down 13 per cent on 2019 levels. In Europe Vicat will target 430kg CO2/net tonne of cement manufactured by 2030, targeting carbon neutrality across the group by 2050.

The group will start up its Argilor calcined clay project in Xeuilley, France, in the 1Q23. This will be after a decade of research and development, and will see a flash calciner with a high alternative fuel usage of 85 per cent. The project will represent an investment of EUR40m, including EUR13m support from the ADEME. The total CO2 emissions at the plant will be below 48,500tpa and it will achieve a reduction of 87kg CO2/t of cement produced, cutting CO2 emissions by 16 per cent, claims Vicat. 

AF substitution across the group will increase to 40 per cent by 2030 and plants will be at nearly 100 per cent substitution in Europe. Vicat will extend AF usage at its Rufisque plant, in Senegal, where a new preheater/Kiln Line No 6 will be installed and at the Ragland plant's Line 2 in the USA.

Carbonation of fuel dust through mineralisation and the use of Carbon8 carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technology is already being carried out at the Monatlieu plant in France to produce lightweight aggregates for insulating products.

Energy efficiency is another lever Vicat will use to decarbonise. The Rufisque plant will have a new roller press to reduce specific electricity consumption by 25 per cent. At Konya Cement in Turkey, the existing clinker cooler will be replaced to reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent. Meanwhile, in Switzerland and France digitalisation of plant data is underway to further improve performance and reduce energy consumption.

Renewable energy investment will see three photovoltaic plants in India and one plant in Senegal to cover 10 per cent of the cement plant's energy needs. WHR systems will also be installed at two Indian production facilities and in Turkey to cut energy consumption by 30 per cent. Furthermore, the group will add 45GWh of hydroelectric production.

Vicat is offering Decat, its low-carbon product, and will employ 3D printing with a new plant at Chambéry, France, to reduce CO2 by 20-40 per cent. Moreover, Vicat's group clinker factor will reach 75 per cent in 2030, down from 79 per cent in 2020 to further reduce cement's CO2 footprint.

To meet the challenge of its 2030 targets, Vicat will spend EUR800m annually over the next decade, led by investment into clinker factor reduction (30 per cent of capex) and fossil fuel substitution (27 per cent). Most of this capex, 59 per cent, will be focussed on EU markets where the EU ETS is driving a more accelerated pace for decarbonisation.

Published under Cement News