Pioneer of the energy transition

Pioneer of the energy transition

About Columbus

Columbus is an innovative Carbon Capture and Utilisation (“CCU”) project in Wallonia

This project will concentrate CO₂ from an innovative type of lime kiln, and combine it with green hydrogen to produce synthetic methane, a renewable gas that can be injected into the gas grid or used in the transport or industry sectors. Synthetic methane or e-methane is produced by capturing carbon and making it react with green hydrogen (hydrogen produced in a decarbonized way).
The green hydrogen will be produced by a 100 MW electrolysis unit, powered by renewable electricity.
This project is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It opens the door for a significant reduction of carbon emissions in Europe and the world.

Our goals

The project aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by using the CO₂ released during the lime production process into e-methane (methanation). This project will demonstrate at industrial scale a first-of-a-kind integrated process by up-scaling and combining available and prototype technologies, such as a new type of lime kiln, a large electrolyser plant (100 MW) producing and green hydrogen and a methanation system.

The e-methane produced will be high quality and suitable for injection into the national natural gas grid. This renewable e-methane can be used by industrial users or as an alternative fuel in the transport sector, allowing them to decarbonize. It doesn’t require any transformation in the customer’s processes or infrastructure as it has the same characteristics as natural gas.

The project will valorize all the side-streams of the production process and will create a circular economy

  • the oxygen and heat released of the production process of hydrogen will be valorized in industry and in a local heat network in Charleroi
  • the water released in the methanation process will be used in the hydrogen production process.

The implementation of this project would allow to avoid up to 187,000 tons of CO₂ emissions per year, taking into account emission savings by the use of surplus heat to feed a local district heating network, valorisation of oxygen and contribution to network balancing. Moreover, it could enable future projects on a larger scale in the lime sector and replication in other CO₂-intensive industrial sectors. It could make Wallonia and Belgium a world leader in CCU-based renewable energy carriers technologies.

The total investment cost for the project is over 300 million Euro. Funding applications have been approved by IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) and the EU Innovation Fund in 2023.

Up to 187,000 tons/y of CO2emissions avoidance




of lime produced


of electrolysers (c. 12,000 tons/year of green H2)


of e-methane

How it works

Carmeuse will be responsible for the construction, commissioning and operation of a new type of lime kiln, which allows for a concentrated CO₂ stream combining both the combustion related CO₂ and the process CO₂ that is released during the transformation of limestone into lime.

About Carmeuse

John Cockerill will be responsible for the design, engineering and commissioning of a large electrolyser plant (100 MW) at an ENGIE site in the Charleroi region, with key elements manufactured by John Cockerill in its new belgian facility.

About John Cockerill

ENGIE will be responsible for the construction and operation of the electrolyser plant that will produce green hydrogen, and will build, own and operate the balance of plants and the methanation plant.



Columbus receives support from European Innovation Fund

To make the transition away from fossil fuels and develop the hydrogen economy, Europe has foreseen different support…

Columbus receives IPCEI support

With the Columbus project Carmeuse, ENGIE and John Cockerill have joined forces to reduce industrial CO2 emissions in…

Visit of Walloon Minister-President

On August 31, the 3 partners Carmeuse, John Cockerill and ENGIE had the honor to welcome the Walloon Minister President…


If you are interested in learning more about the Columbus project, please contact us here.