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Prayon has teamed up with 20 Walloon stakeholders from science and industry as part of HEC02 (which stands for hydrogen, electrification, and CO2 capture), a research project striving to identify the solutions we should focus on to replace fossil fuels in industrial applications.
“This large-scale project was launched as part of Belgium’s recently launched recovery and resilience plan,” explains Alain Germeau, Vice President Development Projects and head of the HECO2 project at Prayon. This plan aims to step up the country’s transformation towards more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth by evolving into a carbon-free economy and thus combating climate change.
“The purpose of the HECO2 project, funded to the tune of €100 million and supported by the Walloon Region, is to develop and validate solutions for the energy transition in industry,” says Alain.
Hydrogen and CO2 reuse: two research projects at Prayon
To this end, the project partners will spend the next four years evaluating three options for reducing carbon emissions in industry, namely electrification (i.e., replacing fossil fuels with electricity); the production and use of hydrogen in industrial processes; and CCS/U technologies for capturing, concentrating and storing/using CO2.
More specifically, Prayon will be testing the use of hydrogen in its industrial processes: “The company wants to replace natural gas, which emits CO2 and is currently used in our calcinators, with green hydrogen and consequently reduce our carbon footprint. We will conduct tests at an experimental facility in Engis that simulates our production processes to determine whether the phosphate salts produced retain the same properties and therefore meet our customers’ specifications.”
At the same time, Prayon will try to devise a process for reusing the CO2 released during the production of sodium phosphate. “We’ll try to capture this CO2 by mixing it with soda to make sodium bicarbonate. Mixing this sodium bicarbonate with gypsum manufactured at Prayon will produce calcium carbonate, which can subsequently be recycled by Carmeuse, another project partner, and a sodium sulfate solution that will be converted by electrodialysis into soda and sulfuric acid, which can be used directly in our processes.”
For Alain, this work on CCS/U technologies is vital because “if it is not possible to completely replace fossil fuels with green energy, those in industry must, in any case, be able to recover their CO2 emissions.”