Buxton plant manufactures industrial lime with hydrogen technology

Buxton plant manufactures industrial lime with hydrogen technology
11 July 2022

High-quality lime has been manufactured for the first time in the UK using hydrogen technology as part of a world-first net zero trial. The trial, led by Tarmac at its Tunstead site near Buxton, was the culmination of a project funded by the UK government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) demonstrated the significant potential to use hydrogen as a viable fuel alternative to natural gas for commercial-scale production of lime.

A number of trials were conducted with differing energy replacements, which culminated in a 100 per cent replacement of the natural gas. Lime manufacturing using hydrogen as a fuel ensures that there is no CO2 produced from fuel combustion, emitting just water vapour.

The project builds on the company’s wider long-term sustainability programme and corporate commitment to deliver net zero by 2050 and cut CO2 per tonne of product by 45 per cent by 2030.  Over the last five years Tarmac has successfully cut CO2 per tonne of product by 24 per cent when compared with the baseline of 1990.

Dr Diana Casey, director of energy and climate change at the Mineral Products Association, which managed the overall project, said: “This trial has shown that lime manufacture can and will be part of a future net zero society. What is needed now is investment and infrastructure development to enable the roll out of this technology at a commercial scale at sites across the country.”

Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, Greg Hands, said: “Backed by GBP2.8m in government funding, this project is helping industry move away from fossil fuels and cut energy bills.”

The project has been funded by BEIS as part of its Industrial Fuel Switching Competition and is part of fuel switching trials managed by the MPA at three sites across the lime and cement sectors. A second demonstration using hydrogen, meat and bonemeal and by-products from biodiesel industries was used to fuel a cement kiln’s main burner at a plant in Ribblesdale, Lancashire, as part of the same programme. A third demonstration, also at Tunstead but on the cement plant has investigated the use of plasma (electrical) energy to heat the calciner.

The results from these projects will be shared with lime and cement producers and other energy-intensive industries both in the UK and globally as best practice examples, with the aim of spreading and maximising the environmental benefits of the technology.

Published under Cement News