Huge challenges and everybody is involved

As part of the Cover Story in this issue, Matthias Mersmann, Chief Technology Officer at KHD, answered some very topical questions about technological developments in the cement industry in an interview with the Editor-in-Chief of ZKG Cement Lime Gypsum Dr. Petra Strunk.

What are the current challenges of the cement industry?

Good question, I think we all know the hot topics of our industry. These days it is the question of decarbonization, the main topic also in a lot of other sectors. It is a huge challenge, and everybody is involved!

What solutions does KHD offer its customers in order to be well positioned with regard to decarbonization in the future?

What solution works for which client is depending on a lot of factors: what kind of raw materials are used and what technology is currently installed, just to name two of the most important ones. We work intensively in our R&D department to develop new technologies which will help with decarbonization in the next decades. Already today, we provide various solutions that significantly reduce CO2 emissions by using one of the following levers: replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuels, producing cement with significantly reduced clinker ratio through the use of calcined clay, and a variety of other solutions that increase the thermal and electrical efficiency of existing cement plants. These are all effective methods to reduce the carbon footprint of cement production already today.

… and probably also the manufacturing costs?

Correct. Thanks to increased efficiency and other improvements, the production costs are also reduced. This is very elegant. If you know that your production costs are directly related to your energy costs, be it electrical or fuel energy, then you can kill two birds with one stone. For example, when you opt for energy-efficient roller presses or technologies that substitute 80+ per cent of fuel energy to be used in the form of alternative or biogenic fuels, you will reduce your costs and your carbon footprint at the same time!

Could you give us a few examples for major projects, which KHD is currently working on?

We are very busy these days and we see this as a reflection of the development in the market. Clients are actively asking for modern technologies and upgrades. We are very much involved in projects that increase alternative fuel usage. Our Pyrorotor® is much asked for because it allows to substitute nearly 100% of fossil fuels with alternative ones. Then there is also a strong demand for KHD roller presses and grinding technology that allows much lower energy consumption. Our grinding plants also enable the admixture of slag, fly ash and other Supplementary Cementing Materials (SCMs), which is another strong lever. And calcined clay plants are obviously also a hot topic. All these projects underline, how much solutions KHD can already provide today to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

When we look into the future – maybe the next 10 to 15 years – what are the most important tasks for the cement industry as well as for the equipment suppliers?

The years 2033 and onwards will define an era which will be very different to today’s industry in many respects. If we look at the roadmaps which have been published by cement producers, energy agencies and others, we find a sharp distinction between before and after the year 2030. Before 2030, we will mostly continue to utilize technology, that is already available today. After 2030, we must involve technologies that are able to completely decarbonize the entire production of cement. That means the “big step” is still ahead of us.

Matthias Mersmann, thank you very much for these really interesting insider comments and I am eager to see the future.

Related articles:

Issue 03/2024

Technology – Not IT!

Being the CTO of KHD, I receive mails from companies which supply services and products on artificial intelligence and digitization every day. Of course those suppliers browse the internet by the term...


Navigating the Climate Challenge: Reducing Carbon and Reducing Costs

The fifth annual conference, which was prepared and held in cooperation with A3&Co.®, was to provide participants the opportunity to come together in preparation for the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt...

Issue 3/2021

The trillion-dollar question

If you like quiz shows you will love the moment when they ask the trembling candidate the million-dollar question! So much is at stake – and its all in these few seconds … Now – while we‘re...

Issue 2/2023 A³&CO.® | CARBON RE

Carbon Re and A³&Co.® join forces to help manufacturers cut costs and CO2 emissions

Climate tech pioneer Carbon Re is joining forces with cement manufacturing consulting firm A³&Co.® to accelerate the decarbonization of the cement industry. The two organizations have signed a...

Issue 1-2/2020

This is a time for optimism

It was not only free trade and open markets that determined the catalogue of topics at this year‘s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos – climate protection has become a central focus. On...