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Heidelberg Materials start on carbon capture pilot in Bulgaria

Major step towards full-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage in Eastern Europe

THE start of construction of the pilot carbon-capture installation at Heidelberg Materials’ cement plant in Devnya was celebrated yesterday, in the presence of Milena Stoycheva, Bulgaria’s Minister of Innovation and Growth, and representatives of Heidelberg Materials and the local community.

The ANRAV.beta unit is a key next step in the implementation of the company’s large-scale ANRAV project in Bulgaria, which was announced in early 2023. As the first full-chain CCUS project in Eastern Europe, ANRAV will eventually cover carbon capture, transport, and geological storage, as well as utilization.

Ernest Jelito, member of the managing board of Heidelberg Materials and responsible for the Northern and Eastern Europe-Central Asia Group are said: ‘The OxyCal technology we will be trialling in Devnya is a crucial addition to our portfolio of capture technologies. Obtaining solid operational data from industrial pilots like this is essential to ensure the successful implementation of projects under our comprehensive CCUS investment programme. At the same time, we can demonstrate an economically feasible way to decarbonize carbon-intensive industries in Eastern Europe.’

‘This is a significant moment for the further development of CCUS technologies across Heidelberg Materials,’ said Dr Nicola Kimm, chief sustainability officer and member of the managing board. ‘ANRAV.beta is an important step on our journey to offer our customers in Eastern Europe fully decarbonized cement in the near future.

‘This pilot will greatly facilitate the implementation of the overall ANRAV project. I am very pleased that the Devnya team, together with our global Competence Centre Cement, have been able to get this off the ground in a very short time.’

OxyCal is an innovative carbon-capture technology based on the addition of pure oxygen to the clinker-burning process. The result is a CO2-rich flue gas with a high degree of purity that can be reused or safely stored. The new pilot at the Devnya plant will not only prove the efficiency of the technology, but also its scalability to ANRAV CCUS and other projects of the Group, such as Anthemis in Belgium. The demonstration period is expected to last 12 to 24 months.

‘We welcome Heidelberg Materials’ investment in this highly visionary carbon-capture project,’ said Minster Milena Stoycheva. ‘R&D initiatives such as ANRAV are transforming Bulgaria into an innovation hub for the whole region of south-eastern Europe, and we are glad to support this as a partner.’

ANRAV is the first full-chain CCUS project in Eastern Europe. Subject to regulatory and permitting aspects, it could start operation as early as 2028, with a capturing capacity of 800,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. It is also the first project in the region to receive support from the EU Innovation Fund, amounting to €190 million. The implementation of the project will unlock the potential of CCUS in Bulgaria and contribute significantly to CO2 emission reduction at the national level.