What is the LEILAC-1 project, and why was it successful?
The LEILAC-1 project involved the construction of a pilot plant at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe, Belgium. Extensive research, development and engineering was necessary to design and construct the first-of-a-kind pilot – involving the dedicated, flexible, and professional inputs from all the project’s partners: Calix, Heidelberg Cement, CEMEX, Tarmac, Lhoist, ECN (part of TNO), Imperial College, Quantis, PSE, Solvay and the Carbon Trust.
This enabled the construction of the pilot on time and on budget in 2019. Additionally, studies examining integration of the plant in different configurations, and confirmation of the sustainability of the process have also been conducted by Imperial, PSE, Quantis and the Carbon Trust.
Several challenges were faced in getting the system to run, particularly the burners, feed and conveying systems. These were gradually overcome, and with system becoming increasingly stable over the latter part of the test run campaign.
The project has successfully demonstrated that both limestone and raw meal can be processed; that the CO2 is successfully separated; and that (disaggregated from the entire system) the energy penalty for indirect calcination (LEILAC) is not higher than direct (conventional) calcination.
Other major findings are that there has been no build-up of material on the reactor’s wall; that the reactor (despite the numerous runs) is exhibiting no significant negative operational deterioration; that there have been no negative impacts on the host plant, and no impact on clinker production; and that the pilot is safe and easy to operate, with no safety incidents.
Thanks go to all the staff at Lixhe, service providers, and consortium members tirelessly working during the massive complications arising from the pandemic.
Official opening of the LEILAC-1 pilot facility in May 2019