Synhelion and Cemex scale solar clinker to industrial level

04 August 2023 09:12

Greater ZurichSwissCham Mexico

Lugano/Monterrey - Synhelion and the Mexican cement producer Cemex have made further progress in the development of fully solar-powered cement plants. Following a pilot project, they have now scaled the production of solar clinker to an industrially viable level.

In January 2022, Synhelion, the global pioneer for sustainable solar fuels, manufactured solar clinker for the first time at a Spanish pilot plant together with the cement producer Cemex. The two companies have now successfully scaled production to industrial level, further details of which can be found in a joint press release.

For this process, solar receivers developed by Synhelion, a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), use concentrated sunlight to generate temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees Celsius. In this way, a gaseous heat transfer medium is heated up, which provides the thermal energy needed to fuse limestone, clay and other materials together. In traditional clinker production, fossil fuels are used for the energy-intensive process, which are responsible for around 40 percent of direct CO2 emissions. The aim of the cooperation between Synhelion and Cemex is the development of a completely solar-powered cement production.

The current development stage is an “exciting milestone for everyone involved, achieved through the excellent collaboration between the teams of Cemex and Synhelion”, as Gianluca Ambrosetti, co-CEO and co-founder of Synhelion, explains in the press release. He adds: “Our technology can make an important contribution toward decarbonizing cement production, and we look forward to more trailblazing achievements in this field”. For his part, Fernando A. González, CEO of Cemex, is convinced that the “solid progress” made so far “proves that solar cement is not just a dream; it is achievable through continued collaboration and backed up by rigorous research and testing”. ce/ww

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