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MPA awarded £6 million BEIS fuel-switching grant

Kiln burner

Association secures multi-million-pound award for groundbreaking decarbonization demonstration projects

THE Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has awarded the Mineral Products Association (MPA) £6.02 million for groundbreaking demonstrations of hydrogen and plasma technology.

Two projects will demonstrate the potential of these technologies to reduce carbon emissions through fuel switching from fossil fuels in cement and lime production.


The cement production trials, which will take place at sites operated by Tarmac and Hanson Cement, comprise two demonstrations, one of electrical plasma energy and biomass fuel and the other of hydrogen and biomass energy.

The UK lime production trials will take place at a site operated by Tarmac, demonstrating the applicability of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for lime manufacturing.

Both projects will see their results shared to their wider industries and supply chains, to spread the benefit to UK and global industry, and maximize the environmental benefit of the technology.

The MPA projects are forecast to be completed by the end of March 2021.

Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, said: ‘Reducing emissions from homes and industry is a key part of our work to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.

‘This innovative project by the MPA and its members is an exciting development and could make a significant impact on our net zero ambitions.’

Nigel Jackson, MPA Chief Executive, said: ‘This important award demonstrates MPA members’ commitment to collaborative research and innovation to meet the industry’s climate change objectives.

‘We are proud to be able to facilitate this collaboration between our members and government; it’s the latest example of our ongoing efforts to deliver our contribution to tackling climate change.’

Dr Richard Leese, the MPA’s director of industrial policy, energy and climate change, added: ‘This fuel-switching research is truly groundbreaking for the cement and lime industries.

‘Our members have made huge strides in reducing carbon emissions by using waste-derived and biomass fuels, and this research will be a cutting-edge demonstration of how it could be possible to operate cement and lime kilns with a ‘net zero’ fuel mix.

‘This could be a significant step change in emissions reduction with global deployment potential.’

Mike Eberlin, managing director of Tarmac’s Cement & Lime business commented: ‘Securing this funding is an extremely positive step for our industry as we support the UK’s ambition of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

‘Collaborative working and embracing innovative technologies are key in our collective efforts to create a lower-carbon, resilient built environment and we’re proud to be involved in such an important project which will help inform industry and government strategic plans on decarbonization.’

Hanson UK’s chief executive officer, Simon Willis, said: ‘We are delighted to be playing a leading role in this collaborative research project as part of our sector’s approach to find more sustainable manufacturing processes. 

‘Cutting carbon emissions is a key priority for us at Hanson and our parent company, HeidelbergCement Group, is the first in the industry to commit to producing carbon-neutral concrete by 2050 at the latest.

‘These BEIS-funded research projects could represent a significant step change in supporting the UK Government’s sustainable development goals as it responds to climate change.’

These demonstration projects follow a BEIS-funded feasibility study in 2019 which found that a combination of 70% biomass, 20% hydrogen and 10% plasma energy could be used to eliminate fossil fuel CO2 emissions from cement manufacturing. The aim now is to test that theory.


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