UK cement and lime producers look to low carbon industrial clusters

UK cement and lime producers look to low carbon industrial clusters
15 April 2022

This week Hanson UK (HeidelbergCement group) gave an update on its involvement in the HyNet North West industrial cluster project that will see the cement company aim to capture 0.8Mta of CO2 at its Padeswood cement plant near Mold, Wales.

With Track-1 UK Government backing, HyNet North West will encompass an area from Flintshire and Wrexham, through Cheshire, Liverpool and Greater Manchester and up to Lancashire. The project is expected to create 6000 new employment opportunities and Hanson UK will have the first cement plant in the UK to have the ability to carry out carbon capture.

Hanson UK Padeswood
Construction for Padeswood is expected to begin in 2024 and to be completed by 2027.  The factory will have an 8km pipeline fitted to the main HyNet line before emissions are transported a further 20-30km to the Liverpool Bay gas fields. In total, the HyNet North West cluster is forecast to reduce CO2 emissions by 10Mta between 2025-30, including the 0.8Mta of captured CO2 from the Hanson cement plant. This is the equivalent of removing 4m cars from the road.

In March 2022 HyNet North West received GBP72m funding for the industrial cluster project initiation. The funding comprises GBP33m from UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial decarbonisation challenge fund and GBP39m of consortium partner contributions. It means the project can make a final investment decision for the initial phase in 2023 and will start operations in 2025.

North West Derbyshire Industrial Cluster potential
Tarmac Buxton Lime plant (CRH), Hope Cement works (Breedon Group) and Aggregate Industries' Cauldon cement plant (Holcim Ltd) are similarly being considered for a further industrial cluster to use hydrogen to decarbonise once coal power is decommissioned by 2024. Opportunities for the cement and lime plants to switch fuels to hydrogen and biomass exist if the North West Derbyshire industrial cluster becomes a reality. By taking part in the industrial cluster, Hope Cement could decarbonise 30 per cent of its CO2 emissions subject to national trials. The Tunstead lime plant in Buxton emitted 257,000tpa of CO2 in 2016 and could expect a similar CO2 reduction to the Hope Cement works, according to Derby Council. 

Hope Cement and Buxton Lime have a rail connection that would allow not only hydrogen to be transported by rail but also captured CO2 from the plants and stored or disposed of in the area. It is hoped that low-carbon hydrogen will attract businesses that focus on flat glass production, ammonia production, specific food manufacturing, metalworking and welding, electronics manufacturing and certain medical applications to Derbyshire.

Derbyshire is also the location for a demonstration project using plasma energy with biofuel in the precalciner at Tarmac's Tunstead lime plant. The plant is also trialling the use of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for lime manufacture.

Humberside, south Wales and Scottish Industrial clusters
The Humberside Industrial Cluster has Track-2 status and could bring new life to the Cemex South Ferriby cement plant near Barton-upon-Humber, which is currently mothballed. South Wales is perhaps more viable for cement industry inclusion with Hanson's Regen ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS) works in Port Talbot where GGBS is replacing 80 per cent of Portland cement in concrete, and fuel switching with hydrogen is being pursued by the Reducing Industrial Carbon Emissions (RICE) project.

Scotland is similarly looking to develop its industrial cluster (Track-2), but the Tarmac Dunbar cement plant is located further away from the Grangemouth area where the central focus for carbon capture is likely to be. It is hoped that the infrastructure could be extended to Dunbar via truck or rail, but not until 2032-37 with an expected carbon capture potential of 0.5Mta of CO2 at the cement plant. There is potential for combining CCUS with bioenergy combustion (BECCS) in Scotland for the cement sector where 70 per cent of the required kiln energy could be supplied by bioenergy.

There is great potential and excitement about the development of the UK's industrial clusters and what they could bring to the cement sector. The government is pushing ahead with its 10-point plan for a UK green industrial revolution in which industrial clusters will play a significant role. While the Padeswood cement plant is expected to be the first to see the benefits of such economies of scale and industrial cooperation, the use of hydrogen as a fuel source combined with biomass and carbon capture utilisation and storage should see a new and cleaner era in UK cement production.

Published under Cement News