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News » Canada » Larfarge researches lower-carbon fuels for Alberta plant » published 12 Jan 2018

Larfarge researches lower-carbon fuels for Alberta plant

Lafarge Canada has teamed up with three partners to conduct a million-dollar study on the environmental benefits of introducing lower-carbon fuels at a cement plant in Alberta.

It is working with University of Calgary, Queen’s University and Pembina Institute on the project, which builds on previous research.

"Our estimates show each 20 percent incremental replacement of natural gas at the Exshaw Cement Plant with lower carbon fuels could result in the elimination of nearly 75,000 tonnes per year of CO2,” said Lafarge environmental director Rob Cumming. “This is the equivalent of taking over 16,000 cars off the road annually. While these are preliminary estimates, this research project will assess these figures precisely and in the local context.”

Eight lower-carbon fuels will be researched, including construction renovation/demolition waste, non-recyclable plastic, carpets and textiles, shingles, treated wood products, wood products, rubber and tire-derived fuels. These sources of fuel have been used successfully at other Lafarge cement plants in Canada and around the world.

“Achieving Canada’s commitments under the Paris Agreement requires all parts of the economy to cut their emissions,” said Pembina Institute analyst Ben Israel. “With the cement industry contributing nearly five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s encouraging to see Lafarge proactively seeking to reduce their emissions. Using lower carbon fuels in cement manufacturing is a great way to quickly achieve meaningful reductions.”

Air quality and traffic impact studies predict minimal changes with introducing lower-carbon fuels at the Exshaw Cement Plant. Additional research by the partners will measure the environmental components associated with the sourcing, processing and full-scale commercial operation of each lower-carbon fuel compared to fossil fuels. The project will also measure the benefits of diverting materials from landfills and determine optimal points in the cement manufacturing process to inject each fuel.

“Lab simulations, environmental studies, economics and logistics reviews are already underway,” said Exshaw plant manager Jim Bachmann. “All research will be finalized by December 2019 with regular updates provided to the neighbouring communities via a public advisory committee.”

In addition to Lafarge’s support, research funding is being provided by Alberta Innovates, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Emissions Reduction Alberta, and the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project includes research by Millennium EMS Solutions, Geocycle, and WSP Global.

"This project is a great example of collaboration,” said Rollie Dykstra, vice president, investments, at Alberta Innovates. “It leverages research, funding support and industry expertise that will help Alberta and Canada develop new lower carbon opportunities for products that currently form the backbone of our economy. We all have a responsibility to play a part and we’ll be better if we work together.”

In line with LafargeHolcim’s 2030 Sustainability Plan, Lafarge aims to replace 30% to 50% of fossil fuel use at its Canadian cement plants with lower carbon fuels by 2020.



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This article was published on 12 Jan 2018 (last updated on 12 Jan 2018).

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