Date of publication 09.01.23
A strong consortium of 4 Belgian players - Prefer, Fluxys Belgium, Lhoist and Orbix - are joining forces to participate to the decarbonization of the Belgian industry and offer a sustainable solution to the construction sector.
In this framework, they were selected by a European fund, i.e. the “Innovation Fund Small Scale”, in order to get a grant of EUR 4.5 million. This announcement is excellent news for the project as it crystallizes the work of the consortium and gives it the required impulse to carry it out successfully.
The CO2ncrEAT project is born from the carbonation technology developed by Orbix, which is offering a sustainable recovery route for some co-products from the steel industry. This technology consists in mixing these co-products with CO2 in order to manufacture building materials. Step by step, Prefer (producer of building materials), Fluxys Belgium (expert in pipeline transport), Lhoist (lime producer, supplier of CO2) and Orbix (owner of ad-hoc technology and raw materials) coordinated to give life to this project which aims to “eat CO2” (CO2ncrEAT).
Reducing CO2 emissions is the key purpose of this project. Every year nearly 12,000 tons of CO2 will be captured, transported and reused in the blocks instead of being emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, for the production of the blocks, the raw materials will be CO2 and recycled co-products from the steel industry, allowing an additional avoidance of 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Another motivation is the need to offer to the construction sector innovative and sustainable products. Prefer is perfectly aware of it and will offer from 2025 - thanks to CO2ncrEAT - masonry blocks with a negative CO2 footprint: these blocks will contain more CO2 than what is usually needed to produce them. The produced blocks will be distributed as a replacement for the traditional concrete block. This way, in line with the demand of the construction market, the building processes will remain the same, while the building materials will have a positive environmental impact.
This project is innovative because it combines a set of technologies to capture CO2 directly from flue gases and it reuses it definitively in building materials, all on a large industrial scale. In addition, it is characterized by the speed of its implementation compared to other CO2 sequestration projects in Europe.
" The project fits perfectly with our willingness to actively develop CO2 capture and sequestration technologies that are essential to the sustainability of our industry. We are delighted that our work on innovative solutions has been recognized by the European Innovation Fund and we look forward to working with our partners to bring CO2ncrEAT to the next level. "
VP & Managing Director Lhoist Western Europe
Together with the Innovation Fund, Prefer, Fluxys Belgium, Lhoist and Orbix will invest in building the required infrastructure between the sites of Lhoist in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse and Prefer in Hermalle-sous-Huy. In addition to the positive impact on the environment, CO2ncrEAT will anchor their activities locally and be a pioneer in the field of CO2 capture and reuse technology in Europe - which is in line with all 4 Belgian industrial players’ ambition to develop responsible and eco-friendly projects.
Raphaël Grimont, Managing Director at Prefer: “As market leader, we must ensure the sustainability of our business by offering innovative and eco-friendly products to our customers. With the CO2ncrEAT project, our building materials will be produced through a sustainable and efficient process and based on local, circular raw materials. The Prefer masonry block of tomorrow will retain all the advantages of the traditional block, with the difference that it will benefit from a negative carbon footprint. We are proud to develop this exceptional project together with key industrial partners while benefiting from the trust of the European, Belgian and Walloon authorities.”
Belgium Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium: “We are pleased with this European support to our CO2 capture, transport, and reuse project we conduct with Lhoist, Prefer and Orbix. This project is fully aligned with Fluxys' CO2 approach, offering CO2 emitters the possibility of transporting their collected CO2 through pipelines. This way, we contribute to industry decarbonization solutions that are essential to achieve climate change objectives and ensure the long-term viability of the economy. As such, the CO2ncrEAT project perfectly combines the aspects of circularity and sustainability, and we are sure that it can serve as an example for other projects.”