The Leilac-1 pilot plant in Lixhe, Belgium, developed with a consortium of industry partners along with a grant from the European Union’s (EU) Horizon 2020 programme, was built to provide a “proof of concept” for the Leilac decarbonisation technology.

Several Leilac-1 upgrades have helped shape the final design of Leilac-2 – a 4x scale up demonstration plant in Hannover, Germany – and Leilac-1 will continue to drive the development of further components of the Leilac technology as it is applied at full-scale across the world.

Leilac-1, located at the Heidelberg Materials’ Lixhe cement plant, opened in 2019, on time and on budget. It has a design capacity to capture 25 000 tonnes of CO₂ per year and is the largest carbon capture installation for cement operating in the world, outside China.

The list of early Leilac-1 successes include:

  • Effective indirect calcination of limestone and cement raw meal
  • Successful separation of unavoidable process emissions from cement and lime production with no additional chemicals or processes required for capture
  • CO₂ purity >98%, with no air ingress or loss of containment
  • Safe and effective performance at required temperatures
  • Similar energy requirements to a conventional cement plant
  • No negative impacts on the host plant
  • No impact on clinker production
  • No significant ‘coating’ of the inner tube by the processed material
  • No significant operational deterioration of the Leilac plant over time

Following these initial successes, the Leilac-1 pilot plant has undergone numerous upgrades to support further development of the Leilac technology and reduce risks as it is scaled to demonstration and commercial scale plants.

The Leilac-1 pilot plant was upgraded to include a Hot Air Slide (HAS) and Entrained Flow Conveyor (EFC) in 2022. The HAS is designed for high temperature operation, necessary to maintain product temperature while translating material horizontally. The EFC is a pneumatic conveying system designed to minimize the consumption of conveying air, electrical energy, and heat loss from the conveyed materials.