FLSmidth forms ECOClay partnership to fully electrify clay calcination

FLSmidth forms ECOClay partnership to fully electrify clay calcination
27 April 2022

To further decarbonise the cement industry, FLSmidth and a series of leading industry experts have formed a new partnership called ECoClayTM. To reduce CO2 emissions from cement production by up to 50 per cent, the ECoClay partners will develop and commercialise the technology needed to replace fossil fuels in the calcination of clay by fully electrifying the process. 

Current clay calcination processes have gained momentum in recent years – especially with FLSmidth’s flash calciner system, producing a highly reactive clay that allows cement producers to replace up to 30 per cent of the limestone-based clinker, resulting in up to 40 per cent lower CO₂ emissions per tonne of cement produced, says FLSmidth. By electrifying the clay calcination process preferably from renewable sources and thereby eliminating the use of fossil fuels to drive the activation reaction, the ECoClay partnership expects to further reduce emissions by 10 per cent at more uniform conditions that allow processing of a broader range of raw clays, claims FLSmidth. 

Led by FLSmidth, the global ECoClay partners include the Danish Technological Institute, US-based industrial heating expert Rondo Energy, cement producers Vicat from France and Colombia-based Cementos Argos, and the Technical University of Denmark. The project is partly funded by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) under the Danish Energy Agency. 

Based on the shared research and tests on high-temperature electric heat generation, storage solutions and renewable grid integration, the ECoClay partnership will build a pilot plant at FLSmidth’s R&D Center in Denmark. The consortium will seek to demonstrate how the ECoClay process is superior to the conventional combustion processes, has a smaller physical footprint on site and significantly lower emissions of air pollutants. 

According to the project plan, the ECoClay partners expect to be able to commence construction of the first full-scale electric clay calcination installation by the end of 2025.

Carsten Riisberg Lund, Cement Industry president, FLSmidth said: “The significance of this partnership cannot be overestimated; ECoClay is accelerating the green transition of cement production – aiming to set a new future standard for the industry.”

John O’Donnell, CEO, Rondo Energy, added that: “Calcined clay has no intrinsic (mineral process) emissions; by replacing the fuel combustion powering the calcination process with renewable electricity, the EcoClay partnership will deliver prompt, practical, low-cost emissions reductions at scale – and can build the foundation for true-zero cement.”

Published under Cement News