Cement 2 Zero Scales Up Zero-Emissions Trials

The Cement 2 Zero project completed its first scrap-metal trial melt as it seeks to create the world’s first zero-emissions cement on an industrial scale.

Conducted in a 7-tonne electric arc furnace (EAF) at the Materials Processing Institute’s Teesside campus in northern England, the trial melt enabled observation of the Cement 2 Zero process at a larger scale. The collaborative project is seeking to advance the decarbonization of the construction, cement and steel sectors by ensuring the process can be scaled up from laboratory to pilot plant.

The Cement 2 Zero process was invented by Dr. Cyrille Dunant of the University of Cambridge, who discovered that the chemical composition of hydrated cement in hardened concrete is virtually identical to that of the lime-flux used in conventional EAFs. The process uses recycled cement as the flux in the electric steel recycling process, the by-product of which when cooled and ground produces portland cement clinker that can be blended to make “zero-emissions” cement.

Partner organizations span the supply chain, with Materials Processing Institute and University of Cambridge; construction materials producers CELSA Steel UK, Day Aggregates and Tarmac; plus, contractors Atkins and Balfour Beatty. Each party is taking on a vital role in research, development, scaling and testing.

Tarmac, the U.K. sister operation of Ash Grove Cement and CRH Americas businesses in North America, will test trial clinker to understand its grinding properties and assess key performance criteria.

“The initial melt is a critical part of the project and a huge step towards creating a more efficient, environmentally friendly, and resource conscious manufacturing process contributing to the decarbonization of the construction, cement and steel sectors,” said Materials Processing Institute CEO Chris McDonald. “The preliminary findings are encouraging in terms of providing the project team with a much greater understanding of the process and how it can be improved and scaled.”

Three further melts will be carried out using the institute’s EAF and once substantially trialed, developed and de-risked, a series of further industrial-scale trial melts will be held at CELSA’s EAF in Cardiff.

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