Prefer, Fluxys Belgium, Lhoist and Orbix selected by EU Innovation Fund for their innovative joint project to capture, transport and reuse CO₂ in Hermalle (CO₂ncrEAT)
A powerful consortium of four Belgian industrial players – Prefer, Fluxys Belgium, Lhoist and Orbix – have joined forces to help decarbonise Belgian industry and provide a sustainable solution for the construction sector. They have now been selected by an European innovation fund (Innovation Fund Small Scale) and will receive a €4.5 million grant. Although there is still another administrative step to complete by March 2023, this announcement is wonderful news for the project, as it crystallises the work of the consortium and gives it the boost it needs to successfully carry out the project.
CO2ncrEAT, a virtuous partnership
The CO2ncrEAT project was born out of carbonation technology developed by Orbix that enables a path for the sustainable re-use of certain steel industry co-products. The technology involves triggering a reaction between these materials and CO2 in the manufacture of construction elements. One thing leading to another, Prefer (manufacturer of construction materials), Fluxys Belgium (expert in pipeline transmission), Lhoist (lime producer, supplier of CO2) and Orbix (holder of the technology and ad-hoc raw materials) joined forces to deploy this "CO2 eating project" (CO2ncrEAT).
Facts and figures
- An innovative process selected for a European grant
- The annual production of more than 100,000 tonnes of environmentally friendly masonry blocks
- 12,000 tonnes of CO2 captured, transported over 2 km and reused each year in these innovative blocks
- 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions prevented annually by using recycled raw materials
Reducing CO2 emissions is the project's key objective. Every year nearly 12,000 tonnes of CO2 will be captured, transported and reused in masonry blocks instead of being emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, the raw materials used to produce the blocks will be CO2 and recycled co-products from the steel industry, thereby preventing an additional 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Environmentally friendly masonry blocks
Another driver is the need to offer the construction sector innovative and environmentally friendly products. Prefer is well aware of this. Starting in 2025 and thanks to CO2ncrEAT, it will bring to the market masonry blocks with a negative CO2 footprint. These blocks will sequester more CO2 than it takes to produce them. The blocks produced this way will be distributed as a replacement for conventional concrete blocks. Thus, in line with demand from the construction market, the processes will remain the same while the materials will have a positive environmental impact.
This project is innovative because it combines multiple technologies to capture CO2 directly from industrial fumes and reuse it in building materials, on a large scale. It is also being deployed rapidly compared to other CO2 sequestration projects in Europe.
Positive impact in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse and Hermalle-sous-Huy
In conjunction with the EU Innovation Fund, Prefer, Fluxys Belgium, Lhoist and Orbix will invest in the Lhoist site in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse and the Prefer site in Hermalle-sous-Huy to set up the infrastructure needed for the project. In addition to its positive impact on the environment, CO2ncrEAT will ensure their business activities are firmly rooted locally and will pioneer the deployment of CO2 capture and reuse technology in Europe. This is a great opportunity for the four Belgian industrial players, which is aligned with their shared ambition to develop responsible and environmentally friendly projects.
Raphaël Grimont, CEO of the Prefer Group: "As a leader in our sector, we must ensure the sustainability of our business by offering our customers innovative and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Through the CO2ncrEAT project, our masonry blocks will be made of circular and local raw materials, making our production process sustainable and considerably efficient. The Prefer block of tomorrow will keep all the advantages of the traditional block with the difference that it will benefit from a negative carbon footprint. We are proud to be able to develop this exceptional project within an industrial partnership while benefiting from the confidence of the European, Belgian and Walloon authorities."
Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium: "We are delighted with this European support for the CO2 capture, transport and reuse project with Lhoist, Prefer and Orbix. This project is an integral part of Fluxys' CO2 approach, offering CO2 emitters the possibility of transporting their CO2 as collected through pipelines. Thus, we contribute to industry decarbonisation solutions that are essential to achieve climate change objectives and ensure the long-term sustainability of the economy. The CO2ncrEAT project perfectly combines circularity and sustainability aspects, and we are sure that it can serve as an example for other projects."
Vincent Deleers, General Manager Lhoist Western Europe: "This project dovetails perfectly with our stated desire to actively develop CO2 capture and sequestration technologies essential to the sustainability of our industry. We are delighted to have our innovative work recognised by the European Innovation Fund and look forward to working with our partners to take CO2ncrEAT forward to the next level."
Baptiste Cowez, CTO of Orbix: "We are very pleased with this recognition obtained from Europe through the Innovation Fund and we look forward to accelerating the implementation of the Carbstone technology with our partners. The CO2ncrEat project is the culmination of several years of research. It offers both prospects for steelmakers to add value to their by-products and for the construction sector by minimizing the need for natural raw materials. Finally, it allows the permanent storage of a substantial amount of CO2 in blocks with a negative carbon footprint. Such collaborations strengthen the local industry in a sustainable way."