Companies make further progress towards world’s first fully solar-powered cement plant
SYNHELION and Cemex announced today a significant milestone in their joint effort to develop fully solar-driven cement production – the scaling of their technology to industrially viable levels. This includes the continuous production of clinker, the most energy-intensive part of cement manufacturing, using only solar heat.
Clinker is produced in a rotary kiln at temperatures approaching 1,500°C. Fossil fuels are typically used to heat the kiln and are responsible for approximately 40% of direct CO2 emissions. Synhelion’s breakthrough technology provides sufficient heat to produce clinker without using fossil fuels.
Replacing fossil fuels entirely with solar energy will be a game-changer in Cemex’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Additionally, the technology creates the conditions to separate, and therefore capture, the remaining CO2 from calcination in concentrated form without additional efforts.
At the beginning of 2022, the two companies announced the first-ever successful production of solar clinker in a small-scale batch process pilot. Advancing from that stage to production under plant-like and continuous conditions reaffirms the enormous potential of this technology to reach industrial-scale implementation. Synhelion and Cemex will now take further steps towards building a solar-driven industrial-scale pilot cement plant.
‘I am convinced we are getting closer to the technologies that will enable net-zero CO2 cement and concrete production,’ said Fernando A. González, chief executive officer of Cemex. ‘The solid progress I see here proves that solar cement is not just a dream; it is achievable through continued collaboration backed up by rigorous research and testing.’
Gianluca Ambrosetti, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Synhelion, added: ‘This is an exciting milestone for everyone involved, achieved through the excellent collaboration between the teams of Cemex and Synhelion. Our technology can make an important contribution toward decarbonizing cement production, and we look forward to more trailblazing achievements in this field.’