Cement plant operator Rohrdorfer is set to reduce the carbon footprint of its day-to-day operations following announcement of carbon dioxide (CO2) separation plant being built on-site.

Scheduled to go into operation by the end of June 2022, the plant will capture two tonnes of CO2 per day before being utilised in the regional chemical industry. 

The foundations for the plant – which is being built in cooperation with the Andritz Group – are already in place on the southern side of the Rohrdorfer cement works. 

The company plans for a 25m high pilot plant for CO2 separation to be built within an area of around 30m2

To further decarbonise a typically hard-to-abate sector (cement production accounts for 8% of all CO2 emissions per year), Rohrdorfer plan to build a second separation plant on-site. 

The utilisation aspect of the project will involve the captured gas being used to produce formic acid, as essential chemical found in disinfecting and cleaning products and de-icing agents. 

Following tests at its pilot plant, the company found that around 1800 litres of formic acid can be produced from the two tonnes of CO2 captured each day. 

Commenting on the project, Dr. Helmut Leibinger, Head of Plant and Process Engineering, Rohrdorfer, said, “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 CO2 as a carbon source, Germany can protect the climate