Leilac is pleased to announce it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Heirloom, a Direct Air Capture company (DAC) permanently removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, for the use of Leilac’s kiln technology in Heirloom’s DAC solution.
The partnership between Leilac and Heirloom brings together two leading climate technologies to provide an innovative, highly efficient and easily scalable approach to atmospheric carbon dioxide removal by DAC.
The MOU outlines the key terms for a global and binding licence and collaboration agreement, expected to be executed in the coming weeks.
In welcoming the announcement, Leilac CEO, Daniel Rennie said, “Leilac is delighted to be partnering with Heirloom. Our partnership will apply Leilac’s core technology for cement and lime decarbonisation to address the global challenge of excess atmospheric CO2.”
Heirloom CEO, Shashank Samala said, “We’re incredibly excited about incorporating Leilac’s world-leading electric kiln technology into our Direct Air Capture facilities because it will accelerate our efforts to capture 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035 owing to its highly modular and energy-efficient design.”
Mr Rennie continued, “Heirloom and Leilac are well matched. Heirloom is a sophisticated and innovative Direct Air Capture company who shares our mission to reduce and remove global CO2 emissions. Heirloom uses low-cost and abundant limestone, which Leilac’s technology is specifically designed for. Both technologies are modular, easily scalable and can be renewably powered.
“Over more than eight years, Leilac’s decarbonisation technology has been developed for, and in partnership with, the cement and lime industries. Leilac’s pilot plant, Leilac-1 has proven the Leilac technology at a scale significantly beyond all existing DAC facilities. Leilac is well advanced on its pathway to engineering multiple capture facilities each with around one million tonnes of annual CO2 capacity, via the development of a replicable module in Leilac-2.
“We are grateful to our partners and the investment from the European Union for all we have achieved to date. While industrial decarbonisation continues as our core focus, we are very pleased to be able to leverage our technology to help rapidly scale solutions to mitigate the excess carbon dioxide already in our atmosphere.”
Heirloom’s limestone-based Direct Air Capture technology
Heirloom is developing the fastest path to low-cost, permanent CO2 removal by harnessing limestone. With a cost of approximately US$10-$50/tonne, limestone is inexpensive and easy to source. Combined with highly-modular, easy-to-manufacture facilities, Heirloom’s solution is built to scale quickly to meet the urgency of climate action.
Applying industrial decarbonisation technology to DAC
Leilac’s calcination technology efficiently separates and captures carbon dioxide from limestone to produce decarbonised lime. Its unique indirect heating approach requires no additional chemicals or processes and can be directly powered by renewable electricity. By keeping the process CO2 emissions pure, Leilac’s technology removes the need to separate gases from gases, enabling it to target the lowest cost solution for the capture of CO2 from limestone.
Leilac’s technology is proven at pilot scale, including through its pilot plant, Leilac-1, and three smaller electric units. In operation since 2019, Leilac-1 has a capture capacity of 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and is currently the largest carbon capture installation for cement in the world, outside China. Leilac-2, a demonstration plant with a capture capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year is due to open in 2024. Multiple engineering studies are in progression for full-scale installations of the Leilac technology at cement plants with capture capacities of ~1 million tpa of CO2. The technology partnership leverages eight years of significant investment from the European Union and cement and lime industries to support and progress the DAC industry. Currently, Leilac’s proven capacity is more than double the current combined capture capacity of all DAC facilities globally.
Heirloom and Leilac’s combined DAC approach
Heirloom’s DAC technology uses lime in a novel carbonation process to directly capture CO2 from the air and form limestone. This process accelerates the natural binding of CO2 and lime from a period of years to just three days.
After binding and removing CO2 from the air, the reformed limestone is fed back into the renewably powered Leilac kiln, where the CO2 is separated and captured, and the cycle begins again.
The CO2 removed from the air will be mineralised, where it is bound to rocks or other materials, or injected underground into existing natural geological structures, where it remains safely and permanently stored. The integrated Heirloom and Leilac DAC solution will be 100% renewably powered to deliver the maximum net reduction of atmospheric CO2.
Why Direct Air Capture?
Decarbonisation across all sectors of the economy is vital to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and avoiding the most catastrophic effects of climate change. But to achieve global climate goals, decarbonising alone will not be enough. We must also mitigate the excess CO2 already in our atmosphere.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that carbon dioxide removal in the order of 1–10 billion tonnes of CO2 per year could mitigate residual emissions and, in most scenarios, achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C, following a peak.
Modular, scalable and low-cost DAC technology, paired with geological carbon storage, can offer a path to removing ambient CO2 at the gigatonne scale.
Heirloom, whose investors include Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures, as well as existing Leilac shareholder Carbon Direct Capital Management, Ahren Innovation Capital and Microsoft, is on a mission to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035.
New application of Leilac’s core cement and lime decarbonisation technology
Leilac’s decarbonisation technology was developed for, and in partnership with, the cement and lime industries. It provides an efficient solution for the separation and abatement of unavoidable process emissions released in the production of cement and lime and is designed to be powered by renewable energy sources and clean alternative fuels.
Heirloom will apply the same core Leilac kiln technology for direct air capture of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. The partnership will also further accelerate development of Leilac’s decarbonisation solutions for industrial emissions in cement and lime, helping to pave the way for full scale industrial electrification and CO2 abatement.
Mr Rennie continued, “The collaborative and cooperative approach outlined in this agreement aims to accelerate the learning, synergies and steps to scaling that are needed to achieve our global climate ambitions and commitments. We are very excited to see the results we can achieve together.”