CEMEX and Synhelion produce Solar-powered Clinker for Cement Industry

Feb. 7, 2022
Solar energy will replace fossil fuels that heat a kiln for clinker production and result in 40% of firect CO2 emissions.

Building materials firm CEMEX and solar solutions firm Synhelion have set up what they claim is the world’s first solar clinker at the Very High Concentration Solar Tower of IMDEA Energy in Spain.

The pilot batch clinker production unit was created by connecting the clinker production process with a Synhelion solar receiver. This solar receiver was able to deliver temperatures beyond 1,500°C. It heats a gaseous heat transfer fluid and provides the required process heat for clinker production.

Clinker is produced by fusing limestone, clay, and other materials in a rotary kiln, which requires temperatures close to 1,500°C. Typically, the kiln is heated using fossil fuels, which result in approximately 40% of direct CO2 emissions.

Synhelion CEO and Co-Founder Gianluca Ambrosetti explained, “Our technology converts concentrated sunlight into the hottest existing solar process heat – beyond 1,500°C – on the market. We are proud to demonstrate together with CEMEX one specific industrially relevant application of our fully renewable, high-temperature solar heat.”

This is the first successful calcination and clinkerization achieved using solar energy, the companies say. The clinker was used to make cement and was processed further to make concrete. Using solar energy to heat the kiln will help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.