EU Innovation Fund boosts Belgian companies’ CO2ncrEAT project

EU Innovation Fund will provide a €4.5 million grant for four Belgian companies, Prefer, a manufacturer of construction materials, Fluxys Belgium, an infrastructure operator, Lhoist, a lime producer and supplier of CO2, and Orbix, a holder of the technology and ad-hoc raw materials, for their joint CO2ncrEAT project to capture, transport, and reuse CO2.

Courtesy of Fluxys

According to Fluxys, the CO2ncrEAT project was born out of carbonation technology developed by Orbix that enables a path for the sustainable reuse of certain steel industry co-products.

The technology involves triggering a reaction between those materials and CO2 in the manufacture of construction elements.

Fluxys said that reducing CO2 emissions is the project’s key objective.

Every year, nearly 12,000 tonnes of CO2 are expected to be captured, transported, and reused in masonry blocks, and in addition, the raw materials used to produce the blocks will be CO2 and recycled co-products from the steel industry, thereby preventing an additional 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The blocks produced this way will be distributed as a replacement for conventional concrete blocks.

This project combines multiple technologies to capture CO2 directly from industrial fumes and reuse it in building materials, on a large scale.

In conjunction with the EU Innovation Fund, the four companies will invest in the Lhoist site in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse and the Prefer site in Hermalle-sous-Huy to set up the infrastructure needed for the project.

The companies noted that the CO2ncrEAT project will ensure their business activities are firmly rooted locally.

Raphaël Grimont, CEO of the Prefer Group, said: “Through the CO2ncrEAT project, our masonry blocks will be made of circular and local raw materials, making our production process sustainable and considerably efficient. The Prefer block of tomorrow will keep all the advantages of the traditional block with the difference that it will benefit from a negative carbon footprint. We are proud to be able to develop this exceptional project within an industrial partnership while benefiting from the confidence of the European, Belgian, and Walloon authorities.”

Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium, said: “We are delighted with this European support for the CO2 capture, transport, and reuse project with Lhoist, Prefer, and Orbix. This project is an integral part of Fluxys’ CO2 approach, offering CO2 emitters the possibility of transporting their CO2 as collected through pipelines… The CO2ncrEAT project perfectly combines circularity and sustainability aspects, and we are sure that it can serve as an example for other projects.”

Vincent Deleers, General Manager of Lhoist Western Europe, said: “This project dovetails perfectly with our stated desire to actively develop CO2 capture and sequestration technologies essential to the sustainability of our industry. We are delighted to have our innovative work recognised by the European Innovation Fund and look forward to working with our partners to take CO2ncrEAT forward to the next level.”

Baptiste Cowez, CTO of Orbix, said: “We are very pleased with this recognition obtained from Europe through the Innovation Fund and we look forward to accelerating the implementation of the Carbstone technology with our partners. The CO2ncrEat project is the culmination of several years of research. It offers both prospects for steelmakers to add value to their by-products and for the construction sector by minimizing the need for natural raw materials. Finally, it allows the permanent storage of a substantial amount of CO2 in blocks with a negative carbon footprint. Such collaborations strengthen the local industry in a sustainable way.”

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