Cement CO2 To Fuel German SAF Project

cemex
Carbon from cement production will be captured and used in sustainable aviation fuel.
Credit: Cemex

Aviation may have an emissions issue, but it pales in comparison to that facing cement producers. 

Various official estimates put the cement industry’s share of global greenhouse-gas emissions at around 2-4 times that of commercial aviation, at up to 8%.

Cement production involves mining and grinding materials into powder and then heating them to high temperatures. The CO2 generated comes from both the energy required to produce cement and the process emissions from manufacture. 

In a bid to make both air travel and cement production more sustainable, three companies from different industry backgrounds have come together to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using CO2 captured from cement production.

The Concrete Chemicals project brings together South African chemicals company Sasol, Mexican cement producer Cemex, and German renewable energy company Enertrag. Cemex will capture CO2 from cement production, Enertrag will produce green hydrogen using renewable electricity and new-business unit Sasol ecoFT will contribute Fischer-Tropsch technology to synthesize liquid e-fuels.

The project will be based at the Cemex plant in Rudersdorf, Germany, and the consortium has prepared applications for European-level funding.

In the first phase of the project, 15,000 metric tons (4.9 million gal) a year of e-kerosene will be produced using 100 metric tons per day of captured CO2 and 12 metric tons per day of hydrogen produced on-site.

The second phase will enable the production of 35,000 metric tons of e-kerosene a year and will require 300 metric tons per day of captured CO2 and 40 metric tons a day of hydrogen delivered via pipeline from a hydrogen hub planned to be built in East Germany.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.

Comments

2 Comments
Cement and steel production both generate millions of tons of CO2 - both many times that of aviation. Creating SAF from captured carbon from burning fossil fuel (natural gas, coal or coke), is one solution but it is expensive. A better approach is to substitute electrolysis derived "green" hydrogen using renewable energy and then burning it in a plant to make cement and steel or in a gas turbine to propel aircraft. SAF just shifts the problem from one activity to another - taking energy from fossil fuel sources has to stop by 2050.
What happens when the natural rythm of climate change brings us really rotten cold winters, like the last one. Will we release the CO2 then?