ECoClay Aim: Decarbonize Cement Industry 50 percent by Electrifying Clay Calcination

April 28, 2022
FLSmidth is joining with a group including Danish Technological Institute, Rondo Energy, VICAT, Colombian Cementos Argos and the Technical University of Denmark

Global cement and mining firm FLSmidth is partnering with an international group of industry experts to decarbonize a large component in cement production.

FLSmidth is joining with a group including Danish Technological Institute, Rondo Energy, VICAT, Colombian Cementos Argos and the Technical University of Denmark. The partnership, called ‘ECoClay,’ aims to develop and commercialize technology replacing fossil fuels in the calcination process of clay.

The firms will electrify the process with an aim to reduce CO2 emissions from cement production by 50%.

“The significance of this partnership cannot be overestimated; ECoClay is accelerating the green transition of cement production – aiming to set a new future standard for the industry,” said Carsten Riisberg Lund, Cement Industry President, FLSmidth.

FLSmidth’s flash calciner system has replaced 30% of the limestone-based clinker used in the industry, resulting in up to 40% reduction in CO2 emissions per ton of cement produced. By electrifying the process, preferably with the use of renewable sources, the partnership intends to reduce CO2 emissions by another 10%.

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“Rondo’s technology captures intermittent renewable electricity and stores it for delivery as continuous high-temperature industrial scale heat, unlocking enormous economic, environmental and societal value by displacing fossil fuels cost-effectively,” Rondo Energy CEO John O’Donnell added. “Rondo is proud to be a partner in this project for its great potential to reduce the CO2 emissions of cement production, which currently accounts for 7 percent of global CO2.  Calcined clay has no intrinsic (mineral process) emissions; by replacing the fuel combustion powering the calcination process with renewable electricity, the EcoClay partnership will deliver prompt, practical, low-cost emissions reductions at scale – and can build the foundation for true-zero cement.”

The Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program of the Danish Energy Agency has partly funded the project.

“Electrification of high temperature industrial processes and Power-To-X are important for the transition to renewable energy, we have previously contributed to electrifying steam methane reforming and have now moved to the cement industry”, said Mikkel Agebæk, Executive Vice President Materials, Danish Technological Institute. “We are proud to be part of this international group of companies striving to make cement industry zero emissions.”

The ECoClay partnership will build a pilot plant at FLSmidth’s Denmark R&D Center and demonstrate the benefit of using the ECoClay process over the conventional combustion processes.

The partnership is expected to begin construction for the installation of the first full-scale electric clay calcination system by the end of 2025. 

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.