LEILAC Project Update: Technology Development

Reducing CO2 Emissions

Daniel Rennie \ December 20, 2020

LEILAC 2 Moves ahead despite COVID restrictions

LEILAC 2 commenced in April 2020 with a virtual kick off meeting, including over 35 partner representatives, spread across Europe and Australia. Virtual cross partner working groups continue to meet weekly and partner engagement is high across the team. The consortium should be commended for such a positive start despite COVID lockdowns and continued travel restrictions.

LEILAC 2 – a 4 x scale up

LEILAC 2 follows on from the success of LEILAC 1 – the construction and successful operation of a first-of-a-kind pilot plant at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium. LEILAC 2 will build a demonstration plant on another operational HeidelbergCement plant in Germany that represents a 4 x scale up of the LEILAC 1 pilot, separating 20% of a cement plant’s process emissions – around 100 ktpa of CO2. A key advancement of the LEILAC 2 demonstrator will be its integration into the cement plant, directly feeding the calcined meal into the existing kiln line, allowing the demonstration of both energy-efficiency and integration / retrofit capabilities through modular design.

The LEILAC 2 project consortium consists of Calix, HeidelbergCement, Cimpor, Lhoist, IKN, Certh, Polimi, BGR, GSB, Engie Laborelec and Port of Rotterdam.

Milestone 1 – Feasibility study (March 2021)

Although the partner teams have not been able to meet in person due to the global pandemic, the first stage feasibility works continue moving forward, focussed on achieving the first milestone of the project this financial year – the feasibility stage go / no-go decision.

The purpose of the feasibility (pre-FEED) phase is to develop the preliminary design for the demonstration plant, including all required ancillary systems and process flows, with the aim of reducing integration, technical and fuel-use risk.

This includes the necessary experimental tests, modelling (of materials and processes) and performance studies to develop and assess the technical options. Through detailed assessment of the available design options, shaped by the initial results of the investigations and experimental work package, a single primary design
basis will be adopted and presented at the pre-FEED go / no-go decision. This will enable the project to proceed on an understood and agreed risk basis.

A risk-focussed approach …

The LEILAC team has made quick progress towards de-risking the technology for the demonstration plant. The plant has been divided into component/ system areas and dedicated working groups were formed to address each topic.


Essential, discrete components of the LEILAC 2 baseline plant.


Technology challenges and other programme risks that must be overcome to design, construct and operate the system were identified for each component.


Design options and potential solution vectors to the technology challenge were identified.


De-risking parallel projects were initiated – specialists were identified and engaged for technical design; validation of modelling works are underway; lab and materials testing and test campaigns designed and implemented on the LEILAC pilot plant in Belgium and the Calix BATMn calciner in Australia.

De-risking approach

The design programme and the development of the technical components of the demonstration plant, is founded on a de-risking approach. This focuses on identifying and effectively tracking and seeking to mitigate risks, allocating resources and funding, and identifying parallel projects and test campaigns to de-risk high priority areas. In this way the LEILAC team can avoid hard trade-offs and reduce the potential for problems due to untested technology or innovations.

Risk reduction programmes include:
• Impurity testing
• Materials testing
• Development of distribution systems
• Design of novel seals and conveying systems
• Combustion system design

The LEILAC team are on track to developing a commercially relevant solution, addressing the remaining technical and ancillary systems risks, and enabling the LEILAC 2 demonstration plant to become operational by end-2023.

In the spotlight …

The LEILAC technology has had increased media attention. Most recently:
• Article in World Cement
• Article in International Cement Review

The LEILAC web site https://www.project-leilac.eu/ is currently being updated to include LEILAC 2, with versions available in French, Dutch and a forthcoming version in German to cater for our growing audience.

The road map …

The LEILAC 2 demonstration plant, once operating and tested, along with the fully developed roadmap will facilitate the accelerated deployment of the LEILAC technology, enabling the cement and lime industries to take giant steps forward towards reaching the required emissions reductions by 2050.

The completed LEILAC 1 pilot alongside the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium.

Researchers believe the technology behind a pilot reactor, that´s already able to absorb 5% of a cement factory’s total carbon dioxide emissions, could contribute to reaching a target of 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in Europe by 2050.



LEILAC (Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement) is a European Union Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation project.

Calix’s technology is being piloted with the world’s largest cement and lime companies to mitigate their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dramatically without significant energy or capital penalty.

Find out more about project LEILAC


Simon Thomsen on the economical benefits of the technology

Project LEILAC core technology – Direct Separation

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