Flexible Funding 2022: Dr Muir Freer, University of Manchester

Integration of CO2 Capture at Dispersed and Remote UK Cement Production with CCS Infrastructure


Key facts about this Flexible Funding research project

Institution: University of Manchester
Department: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering
Start date: 1 November 2022
Principal investigator: Dr Muir Freer
Co-Investigators: Dr Clair Gough
Amount awarded by UKCCSRC: £29,961

Why is this research needed?

Global cement production is an intensive source of CO2 emissions, contributing 8% of global emissions. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) fitted to cement plants has the potential to capture between 52% to 94% of emissions at the cost of £13.9 to £63.2 per tCO2 with current technology assessments. In the UK, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) estimates that CCS will contribute abatement of 3.4 MtCO2e/yr of cement and lime in its Balanced Net-Zero by 2050, playing a critical role in meeting net zero. However, many of the UK’s cement plants are located outside the main industrial clusters.

Integrating dispersed cement facilities with CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the industrial CCS clusters is thus a major challenge that will require a mixture of non-pipeline transportation (NPT) methods. BEIS have identified nine cement plants in dispersed locations of the UK suitable for CCS. The proposed research aims to determine the carbon/fiscally optimal NPT options to integrate the decarbonisation of dispersed cement facilities across the UK with CO2 transport and geological storage infrastructure in the industrial clusters.

This research will provide crucial data to support the decarbonisation of dispersed sites and addresses priorities identified in the UKCCSRC Industry and Policy-led workshop for CO2 Transportation: ‘How do networks/clusters enable remote emitters?’, ‘How to enable emitters that are outside of the clusters?’, ‘How is optimum transport at the cheapest cost achieved?’, ‘What are the conditions, logistics and impacts of CO2 shipping?’ and ‘Setting holistic CO2 specifications to address the whole CCUS chain’.

It is imperative to add CCS technologies to existing cement activities, although the logistics of how the CO2 will be transported and stored from these dispersed sites is currently unknown.

What is this research investigating?

This proposed research aims to determine the carbon/fiscally optimal non-pipeline transportation options to integrate the dispersed cement facilities across the UK into an industrial carbon capture and storage cluster for geological CO2 storage. The proposed research would use a digital twin model of the UK’s CCS networks, called the Carbon Navigation System (CNS), to evaluate the options for connecting the dispersed cement facilities across the UK to an offshore geological storage site (Goldeneye, Endurance, Hamilton or Viking) via one of the industrial clusters (Scottish, Teesside, North-West, Humber, Black Country, V Net Zero, Southampton and South Wales). The model will be used to determine the carbon/fiscal optimal routings for each of the dispersed cement facilities.

Transportation routings for each site will be presented against the following metrics:
• Combinations of modes of transportation used for each routing
• Which industrial clusters accessed
• Which storage site selected
• Volume of CO2 transported and stored
• Distances travelled for each routing
• Emissions produced from CO2 transportation
• Fiscal cost of transportation

Spatial routing maps would also be generated for each cement site detailing the CO2 transportation routes.

What does the research hope to achieve?

This research will provide critical data to inform other academic analyses relating to industrial decarbonisation, decarbonising foundation industries and the wider research on the role of CCS in decarbonisation and net zero.

The results will fill current gaps in non-pipeline transportation methods (NPT: truck, rail, ship), which are vital to decarbonise facilities outside the industrial clusters. In particular, the results will provide essential data to complete full-chain lifecycle assessments, which currently use generic transport data, improving LCA accuracy.

The analysis would be the first of its kind applied to cement and will provide a feasibility roadmap for the integration of dispersed sites into the industrial clusters. The outputs will also benefit industrial stakeholders, not just the cement industry, as the research can be applied to any other hard-to-abate sector, industry or nation.

Research outputs

This research is ongoing. Outputs will be shared below as they become available.