A cement kiln at the Ribblesdale plant of HeidelbergCement’s subsidiary Hanson UK has successfully been operated using a net zero fuel mix as part of a world-first demonstration using hydrogen technology. Led by the British Mineral Products Association (MPA), and funded by the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Hanson UK successfully implemented a mix of 100% climate-neutral fuels including hydrogen for commercial-scale cement manufacture for the very first time.
During the demonstration at Ribblesdale, the proportion of fuels in the cement kiln’s main burner was gradually increased to a wholly net zero mix made up of tanker-delivered hydrogen as well as biomass components and glycerine, generated as by-products of other industries1. If fully implemented for the whole kiln system, nearly 180000 t of carbon dioxide could be avoided each year at Ribblesdale alone compared to using fossil fuels, such as coal.
The trial at Ribblesdale follows a BEIS-funded feasibility study in 2019 which demonstrated that a combination of biomass, hydrogen and plasma energy could be used to eliminate 100% of fossil fuel CO2 emissions from cement manufacturing – provided the necessary framework conditions and infrastructure.
The trial which is part of a wider £ 3.2 million project has been funded by BEIS as part of its Industrial Fuel Switching Competition. Project results will be shared with cement producers and other energy-intensive industries both in the UK and globally as best practice examples, with the aim of spreading and maximising the environmental benefits of the technology.