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CEMEX and RTI awarded $3.7 million cooperative agreement to advance carbon capture technology in cement manufacturing

Team to conduct FEED study of post-combustion carbon capture system at Texas cement plant

HOUSTON — CEMEX announced today that as part of its Future in Action program aimed at cutting CO2 emissions throughout its value chain, the company has been awarded a $3.7 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with nonprofit research institute RTI International. Other partners on the project include SLB, a global technology company and the licensor for RTI’s NAS solvent capture technology. The agreement will help fund an innovative carbon capture study utilizing RTI’s non-aqueous amine technology as it seeks to set groundbreaking emission reduction standards for the cement manufacturing industry.

The front-end engineering design (FEED) study, which is to be conducted at CEMEX’s Balcones Cement Plant in New Braunfels, Texas, is expected to determine and assess the overall costs of the integration of a 670,000 tonne-CO2 per year commercial-scale carbon capture system into the manufacturing process. During the 18-month study, the project team will also evaluate CO2 capture from cement flue gas redirected into a tower for reaction with RTI’s non-aqueous solvent (NAS) with a 95% CO2 capture efficiency. The new study, which is expected to cost $4.6 million overall, is the second grant-backed initiative at CEMEX Balcones plant since 2020. The plant recently concluded a carbon capture study that examined the use of membrane technology.  

“CEMEX has ambitious CO2 reduction goals, and we remain committed to exploring technologies that can help us meet our targets as we build a more sustainable future,” said CEMEX USA President Jaime Muguiro. “We are striving to cut emissions across all our operations, and this study with RTI is one of the many steps CEMEX is taking to achieve our objectives.” 

RTI will utilize a non-aqueous solvent which it has developed over the past decade in several DOE-funded projects.

"NAS lowers the parasitic energy penalty for CO2 capture 30-40% compared to earlier solvent technologies and has been demonstrated successfully through the engineering scale,” said Vijay Gupta, a research chemical engineer at RTI and the project's principal investigator. "RTI is pleased to work with CEMEX on the FEED study to demonstrate the benefits of the NAS technology at its cement manufacturing plant in Texas."

CEMEX and RTI are also currently conducting a second Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) study at CEMEX’s Victorville, Calif., cement plant. The study, backed by a separate grant, is examining the costs associated with the implementation of a NAS carbon capture system with a modular design.  

All the U.S. carbon capture initiatives align with CEMEX’s ambitious climate and sustainability targets. Last year, the company implemented its Future in Action program with the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% per ton of cementitious product by 2030 compared to 1990 baseline levels. CEMEX is also a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s First Movers Coalition, an initiative where dozens of the world’s leading companies drive the demand for zero carbon technologies.

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable services with a rich history of improving the wellbeing of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements and sustainability efforts. Its U.S. network includes 10 cement plants, close to 50 strategically located cement terminals, nearly 50 aggregate quarries and more than 280 ready-mix concrete plants. CEMEX USA has been repeatedly recognized for its efforts in sustainability and energy management, including earning U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.