HeidelbergCement, Joule exploring Carbon-Neutral Fuels from Cement CO2 

December 14, 2015 |

BD-TS-121515-Joule-cover-smThe quest for affordable, sustainable, point-sourced CO2 brings Joule to Germany and the cement business. Here’s the how and why.

Most of the time, power plants get the attention when it comes to CO2 emissions. In this sector, ethanol plants receive attention, too. But not so many cement plants, which are an excellent source of a very clean CO2.

So it’s unusual news when Joule and HeidelbergCement announce a partnership designed to explore application of Joule’s technology to mitigate carbon emissions in cement manufacturing. A successful partnership between Joule and HeidelbergCement could over time result in the co-location of Joule’s Helioculture Technology at one or more HeidelbergCement sites around the world. More about Heidelberg here.

Since 1990, HeidelbergCement reduced emissions at its plants by by 23 percent.  As part of the agreement, emissions (or offtake gas) from various HeidelbergCement factories could provide Joule with the waste CO2 required to feed its advanced Helioculture platform that effectively recycles CO2 back into fuel.

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Joule’s technology, visualized

The Digest’s 2015 Visual Guide is here, looking at Joule’s revolutionay underlying technology.


The Joule Backstory

The Digest’s 2015 8-Slide Guide is here.

The Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide is here.

The latest: Joule, Red Rock Biofuels to merge, forming industry-leading carbon-neutral fuel production platform — that’s here.

Elsewhere in cement

One of the real pioneers has been Canadian-based St. Mary’s, which is investing in an algae-based biodiesel system that will be implemented by Pond Biofuels to help reduce the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions. For every kilogram of algae produced, 2kg of CO2 are mitigated. Though the Pond system only uses a small amount of the 540,000 metric tons of CO2 produced every year, the 25,000 liter pilot plant at the facility can grow up to six generations of algae per day via the LED technology.

Going another way is Namibia’s Ohorongo Cement, which announced plans in July 2014 to boost its biofuel consumption to 80% of its energy needs from a current 30% using blackthorn as feedstock. The investment, which is expected to be competitive in the long term, is meant to reduce costs and dependence of imported oil and coal.

Reactions from the principals

“We’ve been focused on lowering carbon emissions for more than two decades, and we are excited to take further steps to lower our CO2 emissions by working with a dedicated organization with state-of-the-art technology that is committed to protecting the climate,” said Jan Theulen, Director Alternative Resources, HeidelbergCement. “Joule’s process, which effectively recycles waste CO2 into liquid fuels, is a perfect match for HeidelbergCement and our core values, and we look forward to starting the journey towards a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.”

“Carbon emissions are a challenge faced by many industries that are of critical importance to everyday life, such as cement,” said Brian Baynes, CEO of Joule. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with HeidelbergCement in an attempt to develop a modern, ultra-low carbon cement manufacturing process.”


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