Rohrdorfer to be first German cement producer to have CO2 separation plant

Rohrdorfer to be first German cement producer to have CO2 separation plant
07 March 2022

Germany's first CO2 separation plant for cement production is currently being built on the premises of the cement works in Rohrdorf. Rohrdorfer, the operator of the cement plant, started the pilot project on its own initiative to explore the possibilities of separating CO2 and thus climate-friendly cement production. The plant, which is being built in cooperation with the Andritz Group, is scheduled to go into operation by the end of June 2022. 

The plant will capture 2tpd of CO2, which will be used in the regional chemical industry in line with the circular economy. The total costs of the pilot plant amount to EUR3m and are borne by Rohrdorfer.

The foundations for the plant on the south side of the Rohrdorfer cement plant are already in place. From mid-March, a 25m-high pilot plant for CO2 separation will be built on a plot of ~ 30m2. Another system at a Rohrdorfer location is already being planned in cooperation with the Andritz Group.

The Andritz Group customised the system for the Rohrdorfer cement plant so that the optimum purity of the CO2 can be achieved with a long service life of the chemical solvent used for separation.

Once the CO2 capture process has been adequately tested, Rohrdorfer engineers and designers will expand the facility to produce formic acid, a versatile chemical, from the captured CO2. This is is expected be possible in autumn 2022. Rohrdorfer has been testing the production of formic acid from CO2 in the company's own laboratory since July 2021 to be optimally equipped for production in the pilot plant. Around 1800l of formic acid can be obtained from the 2t of CO2 that are captured in the plant each day. This is delivered to chemical plants in the region, for example, and serves as the basis for products such as cleaning, disinfecting and de-icing agents. Depending on the degree of purity, the recovered CO2 can also be used in the food industry, for example for the carbonation of mineral water.

As early as 2022, cement will be produced at the Rohrdorf site with 45 per cent less CO2 than in 1990. This is achieved by optimising the types of cement and the use of fuel. A reduction of 65 per cent is to be achieved by 2030. The remaining 35 per cent can only be reduced by separation. The pilot plant for CO2 capture is intended to accelerate this development.

“We have to start seeing CO2 as a resource instead of a problem. The carbon in the CO2 can become methanol, ethylene or formic acid and thus the starting material for many products that still have to be manufactured from petroleum today. With the pilot project, Rohrdorfer is about to become a reliable partner for the chemical industry, for example at the chemical sites in Burghausen or Linz," says Dr Helmut Leibinger, head of plant and process engineering at Rohrdorfer. “With CO2 as a carbon source, Germany can protect the climate and at the same time become less dependent on oil and natural gas. In addition, value creation and thus jobs remain in the country.”

Published under Cement News