The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded USD 3.2 million (EUR 3m) to Solar MEAD, a project aimed at replacing fossil fuels with concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy in cement clinker production.
The project is jointly led by Mexican building materials maker Cemex SAB de CV (BMV:CEMEXCPO), Swiss solar fuels innovator Synhelion and Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development (R&D) laboratory of the DOE.
Cemex and Synhelion already produced a batch of clinker with CST in research setting in Spain last year. This time, they will be joined by Sandia National Laboratories, which will contribute its research facilities in New Mexico and subject matter expertise to help accelerate the adaptation of the technology to cement manufacturing, the companies said.
Clinker, a precursor to cement, is made by fusing limestone, clay and other materials in a rotary kiln that is heated using fossils fuels to close to 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,732 F). Synhelion’s technology can deliver high-temperature process heat beyond 1,500 degrees, which is enough to avoid the use of fossil fuels.
“Achieving our net zero carbon goal by 2050 will require relentless innovation such as this to discover and scale breakthrough technologies,” said Cemex CEO Fernando A. Gonzalez.
Through the Solar MEAD project, researcher will investigate methods to reduce CO2 emissions, lower process temperatures and increase the efficiency of clinker formation using solar energy. The team will also assess the conditions to maximize heat transfer to the raw cement mix, Cemex and Synhelion said.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.938)
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