Calix’s innovative project for capturing CO2 emissions from cement and lime sectors – “Leilac-2” – passes Financial Investment Decision milestone


  • The Calix lead Leilac-2 project has passed its Financial Investment Decision (FID) to build a plant capable of capturing 20% of a cement plant’s CO2 at very low cost. It will be integrated into HeidelbergCement’s operational plant in Hannover, Germany.
  • Supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 scheme, the Calix design is for a new type of capture technology, designed as a retrofit, scalable module, that aims to use alternative and renewable fuels.
  • This FID milestone has been achieved despite the complications arising from the global pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are now proceeding with detailed design, purchasing long-lead items, and expecting to commence construction in 2023. There remain key project risk flag points prior to purchasing major components, given the market situation.
  • The Leilac approach is designed to enable a green and just transition to a low-carbon future with the objective of strengthening local industry and maximising the use of local resources, whilst also addressing climate change.
  • This first-of-a-kind modular retrofit, which addresses a cement plant’s unavoidable emissions, is aiming to ultimately separate CO2 for a cost of €20 to 25 per tonne of CO2.
  • The Leilac-2 plant is located in Hannover, providing a potential testing and backbone for future use and offshore storage options, and an excellent opportunity for decarbonising central European industry.
  • The Leilac-2 Project Consortium includes HeidelbergCement, Calix, CEMEX, Cimpor, Engie, IKN, Lhoist, and other global research and governmental partners.
  • Critical global climate change targets have been committed to for 2050, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports emphasising the need to accelerate the deployment of all CO2 mitigation technologies, and it is hoped that LEILAC can play a key role.

Leilac – Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement – aims to demonstrate, at industrial scale, a breakthrough technology that can capture a cement or lime plant’s unavoidable process emissions for minimal cost, thereby providing a viable and effective decarbonisation solution. The Leilac-2 plant is being designed to capture 100ktpa of CO2.

The cement and lime industries play a vital role in our society. Cement is used in our roads, buildings, homes, offices and almost all infrastructure. Lime is used in a variety of applications, including the iron and steel, chemical, paper, pharmaceutical, drinking water, food, and farming industries. However, the cement industry alone is responsible for around 8% of global CO2 emission, as most of its emissions are inherent to the production process and are therefore difficult to avoid. Most cement associations and companies have committed to “net-zero” environmental processes, requiring the majority of cement plants to have carbon capture and storage solutions in place as quickly as possible.

The Leilac Group, a subsidiary of Calix Limited, aims to apply a breakthrough in carbon capture technology that will enable the cement and lime industries to reduce their emissions dramatically – while retaining their international competitiveness – by capturing those process emissions at low cost. This is a completely new ‘type’ of carbon capture technology, which is a “process modification” approach, rather than requiring additional chemicals or processes, so CO2 can be separated at very low cost. The technology can also be retrofitted in a modular form at any scale, and aims to use any fuel or energy source (such as biomass, hydrogen, or electricity) – providing a ‘future proof’ solution.

The Leilac-2 project was established to: demonstrate that the Calix technology can be a retrofitted solution capable of capturing 20% of a plant’s emissions; be integrated without causing issues or major interruptions to the host plant; investigate the use of alternative fuels; and, be a replicable module enabling significant scale up. Since the Leilac-2 project commenced in 2020, as a global society we have faced significant challenges resulting in delays and price increases across the supply chain. Despite these challenges, the project teams – involving talented individuals from all of the project partners – have managed to progress, de-risk and develop a costed and technically viable design. The project successfully passed its FID decision milestone, and will now proceed into the detailed design phase through 2022, followed by procurement and construction of the plant itself. There will be risk related gateways throughout the coming months to assess and deal with various risks, particularly for purchasing long lead items, and to address the current market volatility.

Leilac Calciner

Although there are considerable challenges ahead, LEILAC-2, despite being a first of a kind demonstration retrofit, has the potential to separate CO2 at low cost at a commercial scale. Including expected compression, fees and, capex costs – this equates to an “abatement” (not just capture) cost of around €20-25 per tonne.

Antonio Clausi

Antonio Clausi, HeidelbergCement Group Director Competence Center Cement commented:

“At HeidelbergCement, we are testing a wide range of new technologies to decarbonise the cement production process. Our goal is to achieve these CO2 reductions while minimizing the need for additional resources, particularly fossil-based energy, and lowering costs. Maturing the Leilac technology, steered by the highly committed Calix team, is therefore one of our priorities.”

If the LEILAC-2 plant can reach its nameplate capacity, this EU funded plant may capture €7.5 – 9.5million worth (EU ETS – or European Union Emissions Trading System) of CO2 annually for a total annual operating cost of €2million. The design is a replicable module, that can be duplicated to and scaled to capture 100% of a plant’s emissions. The storage of the CO2, using well established, regulated and safe practices, would be required to ensure it does not reach the atmosphere, with a variety of options being put in place globally.

LEILAC-2 remains a research and development plant, with risks as noted above, but is designed to deliver a replicable module that will be a step change in capturing carbon emissions in the cement and lime sectors.

To mark this success, there will be a new website, and logo for the Leilac Group – underscoring the central vision of successfully and economically decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors. The Leilac technology is unfolding as a practical and affordable pathway for local industries to thrive in a carbon-constrained future.

Phil Hodgson

Phil Hodgson, Calix MD and CEO and Chairman of the LEILAC-2 Executive Board commented:

“The positive FID decision marks a significant milestone and further demonstrates the momentum which is building around the Leilac-2 project. The completion of the FEED has been achieved despite the challenging circumstances and is a testament to the strong level of collaboration which has been cultivated between the consortium partners, who have all worked together to make significant progress on this breakthrough project.”

The consortium is led by the LEILAC Group (technology provider Calix), and comprises HeidelbergCement, CEMEX, Cimpor, IKN GmbH, Lhoist, Port of Rotterdam, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB), the Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), Polytechnic University of Milan (POLIMI), and Engie.

It is supported by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI), CEMBUREAU, European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA), European Lime Association (EuLA). The project aims to apply and demonstrate a breakthrough technology that will enable the cement and lime industries to reduce their carbon footprint significantly.

“At HeidelbergCement, we are testing a wide range of new technologies to decarbonise the cement production process. Our goal is to achieve these CO2 reductions while minimizing the need for additional resources, particularly fossil-based energy, and lowering costs. Maturing the LEILAC technology, steered by the highly committed Calix team, is therefore one of our priorities.” Antonio Clausi, Heidelbergcement Group Director Competence Center Cement

Our participation in the Leilac 2 project is another example of our continued efforts to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete products globally by 2050,” said Vicente Saiso, Global Vicepresident of Sustainabiluty of CEMEX. “We are determined to contribute in research and development efforts pursuing high impact technologies in carbon capture, use, and storage.”  Vicente Saiso, CEMEX

“The Leilac-2 technology can provide a very elegant and cost-effective solution for directly separating the very hard to abate CO2 process-related emissions of a cement kiln while at the same time “net-zero” fuels will pave the way to dramatically reducing CO2 fuel-related emissions. Once tested and successfully scaled up, it should become the 21st century version of Columbus’ egg.” Paulo Rocha, CIMPOR

“To respond to the scale of the challenges we continuously face, except from diversification of our supply energy mixture, putting renewables as the cornerstone, we need to manage the associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, since fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the global energy mix. Leilac, inherently designed to be, scalable add adaptable advanced CC technology, is one of the most promising responses, capable also of maximising the large and untapped potential of low-emitting alternative sources of energy.” Nikos Nikolopoulos, Director or Research, CERTH

Daniel Rennie

“As a society, we need to do everything we can to quickly move towards a low-carbon economy, as part of a just-transition, and we believe that Leilac can contribute strongly to our future. In a time of significant change and instability, the contribution and drive of the partners involved in this project show the desire to decarbonise industry as quickly and as efficiently as possible.” Daniel Rennie, CEO Leilac Group