CEMEX, Synhelion Use Solar Energy to Decarbonize Cement

CEMEX and Switzerland-based Synhelion developed an innovative technology that undertakes the elimination of the carbon footprint in cement by using solar energy to drive the manufacturing process. 

“We are witnessing a completely novel way to manage the emissions from cement production by using solar heat in an advanced and sophisticated manner,” said Davide Zampini, CEMEX head of global R&D and IP management. “The partnership with Synhelion reinforces our determination to decarbonize cement production and is the outcome of our persistent R&D efforts to develop sustainable solutions as well as identify strategic partners at the forefront of innovation. Synhelion shares our commitment to closing the carbon cycle and our collaboration should enable CEMEX to accelerate the pace towards achieving its net-zero CO2 ambition for 2050.”

The radically new approach is based on replacing the use of fossil fuels in cement plants with high-temperature solar heat, and capturing 100 percent of the carbon emissions, which are then utilized as feedstock for fuel production, enabling cement manufacturing to achieve a net-zero level. This is made possible by the unprecedented temperature levels of solar heat provided by Synhelion’s technology and its pioneering process to turn CO2 into synthetic drop-in fuels, such as kerosene, diesel and gasoline.

Following the research collaboration completed in spring 2020, CEMEX and Synhelion plan to adopt a staged approach toward implementing the technology. A pilot installation is expected to be incorporated into an existing CEMEX cement plant by the end of 2022 and gradually extended to a fully solar-driven plant.

rendering solar cement plant
Rendering of solar cement plant.

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