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New groundbreaking green hydrogen project by Enertrag, Cemex and Sunfire

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CEMEX/Thomas Weber

Enertrag, Cemex and Sunfire are launching “Concrete Chemicals”, a lighthouse project aiming to decarbonize the cement industry.

Together with industrial and academic partners, the international consortium has submitted a funding application under the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) funding call to receive financial support for the challenging startup-phase of the project.

Concrete Chemicals is a significant step toward carbon neutrality. The coalition of industry leaders is paving the way for a clean cement production process by transforming released CO2 into valuable and renewable goods, such as those used in the chemicals and transportation industries. Once the funding is authorized, a large-scale demonstration facility will be built directly at CEMEX’s Rüdersdorf Cement Plant, which is one of Germany’s largest cement producing locations. In the initial project stage, the facility will produce 5,000 tons of green hydrocarbons per year after its projected commissioning in 2025.

The facility’s feedstocks will be CO2 recovered onsite from the cement mill and green hydrogen produced by a Sunfire-electrolyzer co-located. Following that, the green hydrocarbons produced can be turned into synthetic fuels and a variety of sustainable chemical products. Furthermore, the consortium is looking into a methanol synthesis pathway that uses syngas to make green methanol. The ultimate technological path will be set during project development, with the determined product focus serving as the foundation for the plant’s technical design.

“We support the urgency of action to address the climate challenge and have committed to a 55 % reduction in CO2 from our 1990 baseline in our European operations by 2030. Together with our industry partners, we can collectively transform ourselves into a CO2 neutral world. Concrete Chemicals is a promising project and a substantial part of the innovative Carbon Neutral Alliance initiative of CEMEX to develop industrial-scale demonstration projects utilizing ground-breaking technologies.”

Sergio Menendez, Regional President for CEMEX EMEA.

In the scope of the project, German cleantech company Sunfire provides a 20 megawatt pressurized alkaline electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen and a high-temperature Co-SOEC (solid oxide fuel cell) electrolyzer to generate syngas – a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It marks the world’s first implementation of two different electrolysis technologies combined in one process. Sunfire’s electrolysis technologies are the most reliable and efficient solutions currently available in the market.

“We strive to bring renewables everywhere – especially to industry sectors with a heavy CO2 footprint. Our electrolysis solutions are helping our customers to develop a green hydrogen ecosystem and reduce their carbon emissions. We look forward to contributing our deep expertise and reliable technology to the Concrete Chemicals consortium. Together with strong industrial partners and political support, we will take a significant step towards carbon-neutrality.”

Sunfire CEO Nils ldag.

The Concrete Chemicals facility in Rüdersdorf will be powered entirely by renewable energy generated by ENERTRAG wind and solar power plants in Brandenburg. The project’s implementation will provide the chance to serve as a template for the cement industry in Europe and around the world, showcasing the technological capabilities for converting CO2 into usable products. Long term, the project will contribute to meeting the European Green Deal commitments by achieving low carbon cement production.

“We’ve honed our knowledge in sector coupling and hydrogen production not only through our experience with the multi annual operation of our electrolysis plant but also through active participation in several research and innovation projects. Now we are bringing this knowledge to drive the energy transition into sectors that have historically been difficult to decarbonize and help to build a market for green hydrogen.”

Jörg Müller, CEO of ENERTRAG.
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