Industrial gases specialist Air Liquide will support the decarbonisation of a cement production plant in Lumbres, France, owned and operated by construction firm EQIOM.

Announced today (April 1st), the project – named K6 – aims to capture around 8m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) at the plant over its first ten years of operation. 

Having been awarded €150m funding by the European Commission through its 2021 innovation fund, K6 will involve the implementation of an oxyfuel-ready kiln powered by alternative fuel. 

What is oxyfuel combustion?

Oxyfuel combustion involves the combustion of coal in an atmosphere consisting of pure oxygen and CO2. The process is regarded as more efficient than natural air combustion as the purer mixture burns at a higher temperature.

It is also regarded as less environmentally-damaging by reducing the size of the flue gas stream due to the lack of nitrogen, which dilutes the flue gas. The easily condensable vapour contains a high concentration of CO2 and can be compressed and stored.

Oxygen required for the kiln will be provided by Air Liquide, in addition to the use of its Cryocap Oxy technology to capture and liquefy CO2 emissions. 

The CO2 will then be transported to specific locations in the North Sea for permanent geological storage. 

Commenting on the project, Pascal Vinet, Senior Vice President, Member of Air Liquide Executive Committee, supervising Europe Industries, said, “Air Liquide’s proprietary Cryocap technology is particularly adapted to decarbonate activities such as the cement industry as it allows the capture of a high level of CO2 emissions on industrial plants.” 

K6 could also advance the development of a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) ecosystem in Europe, in addition to furthering the potential for the creation of a multi-modal CO2 export hub from Dunkirk industrial basin and surrounding areas. 

Stating that support given by the EU and French Government has seen EQIOM move one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality, Roberto Huet, CEO, EQIOM, added, “The K6 programme in Lumbres demonstrates our commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change and our contribution to the development of a mores sustainable and resilient built environment.” 

Before the project can go ahead, additional funding, regulatory approvals and internal feasibility assessments are required.