Significant policy support in the U.S. is accelerating decarbonisation efforts, including for hard-to-abate industries like cement. Leilac is highly supportive of these efforts, and welcomes the opportunity to respond to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent Request for Information on Transforming Industry – Strategies for Decarbonization – to help identify cost-effective decarbonisation pathways.

From Hard-to-abate to abatable

Cement is considered a hard-to-abate industry for many reasons. Foremost is that the industry’s carbon dioxide emissions are mostly process emissions – that is, CO2 released directly and unavoidably from the raw material. Coupled with the critical and irreplaceable role cement plays in almost all modern infrastructure, that cement production is expected to increase 43% in the U.S. by 2050, and that globally cement accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the hard-to-abate tag becomes easy to understand.

A combination of policy support, industry commitments, and technology innovation, however, now provide viable pathways for cement decarbonisation.

The DOE has identified four pillars for industrial decarbonisation in the US: energy efficiency; industrial electrification; low-carbon fuels, feedstocks and energy sources; and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). For cement, low-cost CCUS will be critical to abate unavoidable process emissions, while the use of lower carbon fuels and feedstocks, and electrification provide flexible and cost-effective pathways for the industry to reduce its emissions, retain its international competitiveness and support sustainable U.S. manufacturing.

Removing barriers to decarbonisation

Leilac is deploying a unique decarbonisation technology purpose-built for cement and lime to provide the lowest cost means of capturing unavoidable process CO2 emissions and enable lower cost and lower carbon fuels, including electrification.

Through experience developing CCUS projects for cement and lime in the U.S., Europe and around the world, Leilac has identified numerous common barriers for decarbonisation projects. We are pleased to provide recommendations for additional policy support that can help reduce barriers and drive adoption of decarbonisation solutions in the U.S. These include:

  • Enhanced incentives for process emission capture under Section 45Q of the US tax code.
  • The development of, and fair access to, low-cost CO2 transport and storage infrastructure, particularly targeted at unavoidable process emissions.
  • Government led advisory and coordination support for complex CCUS projects, matching partners across the carbon value chain and helping to navigate regulatory and stakeholder challenges.
  • Support that provides downside cushioning for projects – in addition to the upside incentives currently available – to derisk early adoption of new technologies.
  • Support for commercial demonstration of electrification + CCUS for process emissions in cement.
  • Introduction of safe and consistent standards for CCUS projects that promote lowest cost system-wide solutions.
  • Further emphasis on community benefits and public engagement initiatives, embedding public acceptance at the heart of every publicly funded CCUS project.
  • Continued implementation of policies that drive demand for, and promote stricter regulation of, low-carbon intensity products.
  • Equal incentives for CO2 avoidance with CO2 capture from industrial facilities.
  • Consider biogenic sources of carbon emissions as being non-emitted and incentivise fuel switching from conventional fossil to alternative fuels.
  • Following successful commercial demonstrations, gradually transition public support from a project level towards the deployment of industry-wide enabling infrastructure.

Leilac is confident that rapidly implementing sustainable cement and lime solutions is viable globally. In the United States, we are particularly optimistic about the bipartisan support for industrial CCUS projects, including through Section 45Q of the US tax code and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and we commend the US DOE for the flexible sector specific decarbonization pathways it seeks to enable.

Please find Leilac’s full submission to the US DOE at the link below. Leilac welcomes the chance to participate in additional conversations with all interested parties on this crucial topic to provide further information about our technology and collaborate on industry-wide solutions.