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Low carbon fuel study to be conducted at Lafarge Canada cement plant

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January 11, 2018 by Jillian Morgan

All research will be finalized by December 2019, with regular updates expected for neighbouring communities via a public advisory committee.

A $1 million study on the environmental benefits of low carbon fuels will be conducted at a Lafarge Canada cement plant in Exshaw, Alta.

The study is in partnership with the University of Calgary, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and the Pembina Institute in Toronto, Ont.

A 20 per cent incremental replacement of natural gas with lower carbon fuels could result in the elimination of 75,000 tons of CO2 per year, according to Lafarge.

“This is the equivalent of taking over 16,000 cars off the road annually,” said Rob Cumming, environmental director at Lafarge. “While these are preliminary estimates, this research project will assess these figures precisely and in the local context.”

As part of the project, 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 at other Lafarge cement plants.

Additional research 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.

In addition to Lafarge, Alberta Innovates, Ontario Centres for Excellence, Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada will fund the project. It includes research by Millennium EMS Solutions, Geocycle, and WSP Global.

“The potential benefits to the Canadian greenhouse gas emissions reduction are immense, reducing carbon emissions by over one million tonnes per year if the entire industry adopts the use of lower carbon fuels,” said Darko Matovic, Professor at the Queen’s University mechanical and materials department.

In alignment with its 2030 Sustainability Plan, Lafarge aims to replace 30 to 50 per cent of fossil fuel use at its Canadian cement plants with lower carbon fuels by 2020.


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