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Published: 2024-05-23

Research on the production of cement and quicklime can reduce carbon dioxide emissions

NEWS The production of cement and quicklime are energy demanding and causes high carbon dioxide emissions. This is because the fuel, which is used for heating, and the limestone, which is converted into quicklime at high temperatures, emits carbon dioxide. By replacing fossil fuels with renewable ones, emissions can be reduced by up to 40 percent. "A shift from coal to biomass can affect product quality, through reactions at high temperatures," says Karin Sandström, doctoral student.

Text: Elin Olsson

The production of quicklime and cement takes place in direct-fired kilns, which means that the fuel, raw material and product are in direct contact with each other. The ash formed after combustion can react with the product. For quicklime, that requires a high calcium oxide content, this can have a negative effect on the product quality.

In laboratory studies, Karin Sandström, doctoral student at the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics and the Industrial Doctoral School at Umeå University, and her colleagues have seen that the microstructure of quicklime alters when the limestone is exposed to ash from biofuels at high temperatures. They have also investigated how impurities found in limestone quarries affect the quality of the quicklime product. The volatilization of trace and minor elements in during cement clinker formation were studied both in a conventional combustion atmosphere and in an atmosphere with a high carbon dioxide content, corresponding to electrified heating.

"For the vast majority of elements, no difference between the two atmospheres were determined. However, a high carbon dioxide content reduced the evaporation of potassium, sodium, and sulphur, which can affect the cement quality. This should be further studied," says Karin Sandström.

Karin Sandström's research has contributed to an increased understanding of how impurities, either introduced via biomass or raw material, affects the product quality in quicklime production – and how electrified heating affects cement quality. This knowledge is important in the transition to more sustainable cement and quicklime production.

"Future studies can bridge the gap between lab scale experiments and large-scale processes, with the long-term goal of achieving efficient and sustainable production of cement and quicklime with reduced carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere," says Karin Sandström.

About the Industrial Doctoral School

The Industrial Doctoral School is based on collaboration between the University, researchers and businesses or organisations. The aim is to combine benefits for both society and the external party while training new high-quality researchers. The doctoral student also receives a tailored academic course package. The doctoral school is open to all disciplines and the doctoral student is employed at Umeå University.

Read more on the Industrial Doctoral School website

About the doctoral thesis defence

On Friday 31 May, Karin Sandström, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics at Umeå University, will defend her thesis titled Effects of impurities on phase equilibrium in quicklime and cement clinker production. The dissertation will take place at 09.00 in Aula Biologica, BIO. E.203. The faculty opponent is Associate Professor Pavleta Knutsson, Chalmers University of Technology.

Read the full thesis


For more information, please contact:

Karin Sandström
Doctoral student