Lafarge has successfully completed an industrial trial for Aether®, its new generation clinker formulated for lower carbon cements. The trial mobilized a team of around 100 people over a 10-day period at the group‘s French plant in Le Teil (Ardèche). It allowed the production of 10 000 tons of Aether® clinker, confirming the feasibility of industrial-scale production using traditional raw materials. The launch of the first Aether® products is planned for 2014.
The result of several years of research by Lafarge R&D teams, Aether® cements offer similar properties to ordinary Portland cement and can be produced in traditional cement plants after minor process adjustments, for a lower overall environmental footprint. Aether® is a new chemical composition for clinker which should allow a 25–30 % reduction in CO2 emissions, thanks to:
reduced limestone content in the raw mix
a lower temperature (~1300 °C) during the burning process
easier grinding, using less energy
This development project has received the support of the European Union as part of its LIFE+ Programme, a financial instrument to support environmental projects.