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#neverstopINNOVATING — new generation lime for a sustainable lime production experience

𝐳𝐞𝐫𝐨 𝐂𝐎2 𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐞 with QualiCal NANO reactor

Limestone Calcination

Lime is a critical chemical for key end-use industrial applications such as metallurgy, construction, chemicals, and environmental. The primary application of the product is in steel manufacturing. It serves as a flux promoter and brings about the separation of impurities such as silica and phosphorus by slag formation. It is also added to the basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces.

Limestone in nearly half by weight CO2, trapped in the rock, and which is released hen making lime. These “process” CO2 emission accounts for nearly 2/3 of lime’s total CO2 emissions

Lime cannot be produced without creating carbon dioxide (CO2). As a result, large amounts of CO2 are released into the air each year. The CO2 generated during the production process is one of the greenhouse gases that has led to several calamities and global warming while leading to drastic consequences. Furthermore, production is a highly energy-intensive process and adds to the industry’s overall carbon footprint.

Climate actions and a Sustainable lime production

Predicting the future of lime production is, like many areas of prediction, very often overtaken by the facts in the field. There was a time, since 25 years ago, when the future seemed to depend on the construction of colossal lime plants relying on fossil fuels.

A futuristic wave of optimism and clamor could be based on the long-awaited but still poorly performing field of hydrogen technologies. These are still in the investment and development phase, and represent a particular focus for some car manufacturers, however, the scientific consensus on climate change in developed economies has changed considerably in the meantime, leading designers to abandon their previous models.

The challenge

The lime industry is facing a climate-change challenge:

The ‘calcination’, or burning, of limestone to produce quicklime is an emission-intensive process.

QualiCal — as technological provider — is committed to keep its industry leadership in sustainabile lime production in accordance with its mission to contribute to a decarbonised world by providing sector wised disruptive solutions.

Quicklime and CO2 estimated worldwide yearly production (2020)

The Global Goals 2030 for a Sustainable Development

“The SDGs are a more radical agenda than most business leaders yet realized. They require a shift from incremental to exponential mindsets and ambitions; They require to move from our current focus on the negative impacts of economic activity to the deliberate generation of positive impacts.” — Carlo Cella QualiCal CEO

Our planet has provided us with an abundance of natural resources. But we have not utilized them responsibly and currently consume far beyond what our planet can provide. We must learn how to use and produce in sustainable ways that will reverse the harm that we have inflicted on the planet.

Climate change is a real and undeniable threat to our entire civilization.The effects are already visible and will be catastrophic unless we act now. Through education, innovation and adherence to our climate commitments, we can make the necessary changes to protect the planet. These changes also provide huge opportunities to modernize our infrastructure which will create new jobs and promote greater prosperity across the globe.

A functioning and resilient infrastructure is the foundation of every successful community. To meet future challenges, our industries and infrastructure must be upgraded. For this, we need to promote innovative sustainable technologies and ensure equal and universal access to information and financial markets. This will bring prosperity, create jobs and make sure that we build stable and prosperous societies across the globe.

NANO “𝐳𝐞𝐫𝐨 𝐂𝐎2 𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐞” available technologies

As environmental regulations toughen, and shareholders and stakeholders place increasing pressure on companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lime producers need solutions quickly to help mitigate their CO2 emissions.

Effective solution for CO2 capture and storage

QualiCal NANO Technology is available now to efficiently produce CO2 emitted in lime production, suitable for most effective Carbon Capture & Storage (CSS) technologies. These emissions are unavoidable regardless of the fuel type and can constitute up to 75% of CO2 emissions from a lime plant. The remainder comes from burning fuel.

Usage of renewable fuels

Further advances in QualiCal’s NANO Technology foresee the ability to electrify the whole of the heating requirement, or power it from renewable energy such as SOLAR thermal facilities. This means that zero-emissions lime manufacturing can be achieved.

NANO burning reactor R&D roadmap

QualiCal built its first pilot plant in 2002, by Paul Scherrer Insitute (Swiss), demonstrating full calcination at controlled reactivity by means solar facilities and electricity. The pilot plant proved that it was technically feasible to produce lime in a NANO reactor.

Solar lime reactor in operation (2003)

In 2021 QualiCal led application to the EU Horizon 2021–2027 fund to build an industrial scale NANO reactor for the processing of lime. The main scale up challenge for the design is the higher production rate required by industrial needs. Further development will scale the process by a multiple NANO matrix and aim to capture the CO2 in a suitable condition for storage.

More recently, and on the back of the knowledge built through years of research and development, QualiCal has teamed up with several companies to undergo feasibility and engineering studies for the development of NANO lime reactor with carbon dioxide capture capabilities.

“The QualiCal technology has the potential to enable the lime industries to efficiently capture their process emissions on an industrial scale. NANO pilot plant is one of several promising CO2 neutral technologies that we are currently testing at full speed within some industrial Partners” — Francesco Cella QualiCal CTO

NANO typical plant layout

NANO features

QualiCal NANO involves grinding limestone to an average size of 0–10mm, a NANO reactor providing — with any kind of renewable energies — lime calcination, and filtering system handling high purity CO2, which can be easily further captured and used or stored.

NANO features


  • 95% quarry waste recovery by calcination of fine-limestone with grain sizes <10 mm;
  • Calcination of limestone with chemical compositions or physical behaviour (decrepitation as in the case of quartzite, marble, marl, … ) normally not compatible with current industrial plants.


  • Production of extremely pure quicklime with reactivity controlled between 30sec and 30minutes.
  • Production of extremely pure CO2 coming from the calcination process thanks to indirect burning.


  • Production Carbon Neutral quicklime thanks to the usage of any green fuel and/or electricity produced by green/renewable sources

Outlook — production of zero CO2 lime.

The next stage of advancement for the processing of lime will focus on several key areas including maximising efficiency, scale up of throughput, testing of solid fuels, testing of alternate gaseous fuels such as hydrogen, scale up of the electric calciner for lime, fuel side CO2 capture options and optimising CO2 clean-up and compression.

“The ultimate aim is the production of zero CO2 lime.”

Lime production grid — #internetofthelime

Many lime plants are located on other industrial sites, such as steel mills where lime is added to the blast furnace to remove impurities from the iron.

Centralized lime production using fossil fuels in large-scale plants is no longer a vision of the future that climate change scientists, regulators and the growing majority of investors and manufacturers are buying.

While the future of lime production is moving away from centralized models, it is instead moving towards distributed lime resources and much smaller individual lime producers.

Decentralized or distributed production typically uses renewable energy sources or cogeneration to create cleaner and cheaper energy for small user groups. As these smaller clusters could exponentially, regulatory change and technological progress could play a connecting role for these independent sources in the main networks. A fully synchronized future can only be achieved through the sustained development of innovative lime production equipment and continuous innovation in IIoT digital solutions for industry.

In essence, a combination of digital transformation and engineering advances will underpin the emerging so-called #internetofthelime.

© Published with ❤️ by QualiCal 2022



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