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Carbon capture tech converts cement dust into construction aggregate

Picture of a cement plant in France with carbon capture and use facility emblazoned with blue banner artwork promoting clean tech ambitions

© Carbon8 Systems

A clean tech spin-out from the University of Greenwich has reached two major milestones in 2020 after support from Enterprise Europe Network in bringing its carbon capture and use technology to market.


Carbon8 Systems, based at Chatham in Kent, has commercialised a process known as accelerated carbonation. It involves combining captured CO₂ emissions with industrial waste and residues to produce high-value, lightweight construction aggregates for commercial use.


The first commercial deployment, following successful demonstration projects in the UK and Canada, will be at the Vicat Group cement plant at Montalieu, near Lyon in France. Carbon8 Systems’ technology – known as the CO₂ntainer – is being integrated within the plant’s existing industrial processes at Montalieu. 


It will capture CO₂ directly from the plant’s flue gas emissions, which will be used to convert cement bypass dust at the plant into lightweight aggregates. 


Scheduled to start commercial operation later this year, the CO₂ntainer will process and convert up to 12,000 tonnes of cement dust into construction aggregates.


The french connection


EEN became involved last year in providing information on the waste management sector and helping the company to explore market opportunities, particularly in France.


It followed the company’s success in attracting Horizon 2020 funding, a package which included EEN support.


EEN adviser Valerie Pondaven said: “France was a very promising market. We were also able to clarify aspects of French legislation and suggested a list of French manufacturers of concrete blocks who could pilot the technology. However, they found their eventual partner themselves.”


Innovate UK funding


Innovate UK has provided funding too, awarding more than £300,000 in 2019 for a 12-month collaborative project completed earlier this year.


Carbon8 Systems had partnered with Wright Engineering and Rapid Innovation Group (RIG) to develop the design of the CO₂ntainer system. It also involved a detailed investigation into the international market and a review of potential business models.


The demonstration CO₂ntainer system was then deployed at Hanson Cement’s Ketton plant in the Midlands where instrumentation and monitoring equipment could be tested, using CO₂ from a real flue stack and cement by-pass dust.


Automating the accelerated carbonation system allowed Wright Engineering to build a full capacity commercial plant.


Looking ahead, Carbon8 Systems is in talks with several cement/lime companies as well as  a number of Energy from Waste plants in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and France. The technology can also be deployed in the steel and paper industries.

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