Technical University of Denmark: New waste technology to reduce CO2 emissions

Through pyrolysis technology, a new research collaboration will reduce the CO2 footprint of several large industries and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

The technology is a further development of FLSmidth’s patented waste treatment reactor, which already today can ensure the use of a high fraction of waste as fuel in cement plants, and which can thereby reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In the new CircFuel project, the technology will be further developed so that the waste used provides both energy for cement production and liquid fuel with a low CO2 footprint.

“The CircFuel project aims to use the cement process to convert organic waste into valuable hydrocarbons to be used as a replacement fuel in the transport sector. Thanks to this, waste disposal and incineration can be avoided, the extraction of fossil fuels for transport can be reduced, and cement factories can become an opportunity for the green transition. We are excited to be part of such a large consortium, and hope to share results very soon,” says Thomas Petithuguenin, Head of Research and Innovation, Cement, FLSmidth A/S and chair of the project steering committee.

The project is initiated by FLSmidth and DTU. The project is headed by DTU Chemical Engineering and also consists of DTU Management, FLSmidth, Dampskibsselskabet Norden, MAN Energy Solutions SE, Topsøe, Geminor, and Finnsementti Oy.

“We see great opportunities for utilizing DTU’s knowledge on pyrolysis and catalysis, which has been built up through many years of research. Through this industrial collaboration the knowledge can be utilized globally,” says Peter Arendt Jensen, Senior Researcher at DTU Chemical Engineering and project manager of the CircFuel project.

Development of technology
In the project, a further development of FLSmidth’s reactor will be carried out based on so-called pyrolysis, where solid waste is converted into gas, liquid and a coke residue. The technology will be further developed in order to have a high production of liquid fuel, and various technologies for upgrading the fuel properties of the liquid will be investigated.

Use of the liquid pyrolysis product will be investigated via three different process routes. This includes direct use of the liquid fuel, a partial catalytic upgrade located on the cement plant and an external full hydrogenation of the pyrolysis oil.

Various uses of the pyrolysis oil products will also be investigated. This includes direct use at the cement plant, use as marine fuel and as a feed stream to refineries, whereby fuels can be provided to sectors such as heavy traffic and aviation fuels.

In the final phase of the project, the aim is to market the technology globally to cement factories. This provides a technology that can reduce CO2 emissions and improve the operating economy of cement plants, reduce landfills, especially in developing countries, and reduce the use of fossil fuels in the marine sector.

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