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Pioneers in CO2nversion

Green Hydrocarbons for the Chemical and Transport Sector

A large-scale demonstration plant will be constructed directly at the Rüdersdorf Cement Plant of CEMEX, which is considered as Germany's biggest cement production site. As of 2025, the demonstration facility will initially produce 5,000 tons of green hydrocarbons per year in the first project stage. The feedstocks of the plant will be CO2 captured on-site from the cement plant and green hydrogen produced by a co-located electrolyzer. In a subsequent step, the produced green hydrocarbons can be converted into synthetic fuels and various renewable chemical products. Furthermore, green methanol can be produced from syngas via a methanol synthesis route.

 

In a broader perspective, the deployment of Concrete Chemicals will enable further development of highly innovative catalytic processes, reactor technology and catalytic materials with superior efficiency. The project offers the unique opportunity to serve as a flagship and blueprint for the cement industry in Europe and worldwide - demonstrating the technological possibilities to turn CO2 into utilizable products. Achieving a low-carbon cement production in the long term, Concrete Chemicals contributes to reaching Brandenburg’s CO2 reduction ambitions and the European Green Deal’s targets alike.

 

To receive financial support for the challenging startup-phase of Concrete Chemicals, the project partners have

submitted funding applications under the German government's funding schemes.

Future in Action

The Carbon Neutral Alliance at

the Cement Plant Rüdersdorf

CEMEX is a leading vertically integrated heavy building materials company focused on four core businesses: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates, and Urbanization Solutions. In Europe, CEMEX operates a total of ten cement plants with integrated clinker production.

As part of its “Future in Action" program, CEMEX is developing a Carbon Neutral Alliance at the cement plant in Rüdersdorf near Berlin to test and accelerate innovative technologies to reach carbon neutrality. The technological learnings derived from the Rüdersdorf Carbon Neutral Alliance should gradually be shared with the CEMEX global portfolio of cement plants and adapted to local conditions to accelerate its decarbonization goals of the cement production process.

The cement industry, and thus the entire downstream value chain of cement and concrete, are facing major challenges on the path to climate neutrality due to the large amounts of CO2 that are released during the production of clinkers. Around two thirds are accounted for by raw material-related process emissions resulting from the chemical process. Further emissions are caused by the use of fossil fuels. Nevertheless, the demand for cement and concrete is growing as the world’s population increases and becomes more urban, with emerging economies developing more and more infrastructures. This highlights the urgency and chances of decarbonizing cement production to reach the EU’s emission reduction targets by 2050.

Tradition Meets Innovation

in Rüdersdorf

Limestone has been quarried and processed into building materials in Rüdersdorf for over 750 years.

The first lime kilns were built here as early as the 16th century, and cement production began in 1885.

Today, the cement plant at the Rüdersdorf location represents the state of the art in cement process technology. In all production stages - from open-cast mining to raw grinding, the burning process, and cement grinding, all the way to dispatch - equipment is used that simultaneously combines competitive cement production, high energy efficiency, and an environmentally compatible production process. A continuous improvement process ensures that this remains.

Objectives

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The project partners aim to develop and deploy highly innovative and recyclable catalytic material systems to facilitate the production of methanol and green hydrocarbons from industrial flue gas emissions: mainly CO2 (but also CO and H2), aiming at 50 % increase in the overall efficiency compared to the state of the art.

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Furthermore, innovative and renewable energy driven catalytic processes are being developed to produce methanol, synthetic fuels and chemicals at a sufficiently large scale to demonstrate its cost effectiveness, while reducing the use of critical raw materials. At large, the full value chain for industrial production of methanol, synthetic fuels and chemicals can be demonstrated, reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. The successful implementation of the project will require the supportive engagement of local community partners as well as a regulatory learning curve to adapt the related market design questions.

Next to the increasing understanding of the technologies applied in the plant and the cooperation between the interfaces of involved partners, investors and regulatory authorities will be optimized.

 

The project partners aim to develop and deploy highly innovative and recyclable catalytic material systems to facilitate the production of methanol and green hydrocarbons from industrial flue gas emissions: mainly CO2 (but also CO and H2), aiming at 50 % increase in the overall efficiency compared to the state of the art.

Technical Concept of Concrete Chemicals

The uniqueness of Concrete Chemical’s technical concept is that it combines a carbon capture process with the production of green hydrocarbons and methanol which results in CO2 reduction combined with efficiency as its best.

 

The CO2 captured from the CEMEX cement factory and renewable hydrogen produced from an alkaline electrolyzer will flow to an innovative electric reverse water gas shift reactor (eRWGSR), in which syngas will be produced. Afterwards, the syngas will be converted into green hydrocarbons by a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reactor using highly innovative catalysts with  a superior efficiency that will be further developed and demonstrated within the project. 

 

In addition, another ground-breaking technology will be deployed on-site: a 3 megawatt Co-SOEC electrolysis system, which will convert CO2 and hydrogen into syngas that can be fed directly into the FT reactor. As a first-of-its-kind installation, the two conversion routes “eRWGSR – FT” and “Co-SOEC – FT” will be operated at the same location, generating pivotal new knowledge regarding two of the most promising routes for the sustainable conversion of CO2 emissions into valuable products.

As an alternative to the Fischer-Tropsch process, the consortium is investigating a methanol synthesis route that produces green methanol from syngas. The final technological path will be defined in the course of the project development with the defined product focus forming the basis for the technical design of the plant. The whole facility  will be powered by renewable electricity from designated renewable energies in the region.

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Sergio Menendez

President of CEMEX Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia

Having already achieved close to 35 % reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1990, 10 years ahead of the original target, our aspiration now moves to accelerate towards 55 % by 2030 in Europe and to deliver carbon neutral concrete globally by 2050. We believe that driving down the CO2 footprint of our operations and products is urgent and critical for our industry. Together with our industrial partners, we are transforming our products and solutions in a collective ambition for a more sustainable world.

 

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