In 2009 alone, the Lafarge North America cement plant in Bath,
Ontario, completed a range of environmental and energy efficiency projects. The
multitude of projects proved the Canadian plant worthy of earning the Overall
Environmental Performance Award for the Ninth Annual Cement Industry Energy
& Environmental Awards, presented by the Portland Cement Association (PCA)
and Cement Americas.
As part of its climate change and energy efficiency programs, Lafarge
Bath began working with Queen’s University researchers on its “Energy Farm”
initiative, in which a variety of plant species and crops are grown onsite that
could eventually be used as renewable biomass sources. The project, with
additional support from Wildlife Habitat Council biologists, will determine the
effectiveness of purpose-grown biomass fuels in the plant’s cement kiln.
To determine which crops are best suited to growing in the area, the
Energy Farm team planted three potential crops in four fields on the plant grounds.
Each field was divided into four strips, with each crop planted in one strip,
and one strip left fallow. As these are perennial crops, data will be gathered
over several years before conclusions may be drawn.
Another component of the Energy Farm project is a perimeter of
native grass and wildflower species planted around each of the fields used for
the project. In addition to combating the typical soil erosion associated with
cultivated land, these borders will provide pollinator habitat.
This work also plays a role in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
program preformed in conjunction with Queen’s University and the Ontario
Ministry of the Environment. The LCA study will determine the net carbon
savings from the use of purpose-grown biomass crops as a replacement for coal,
as well as various land use questions and water consumption.
Lafarge Bath also worked with area farmers to raise crops for a
trial biomass burn. Farmers produced crops such as hemp, sorghum, canary grass,
millet, tropical corn, and switchgrass on small, local farms before shipping
them to the plant for storage. More than 950 bales of plant material have been
collected for the biomass trial planned for 2010.
Experimental Renewable Energy Sources
Bath is working with the Queen’s University’s Biology Department on a
real-world laboratory approach to willow genetic development. The plant has provided
land and preparation services to Dr. Sharon Regan’s willow development work
wherein over 100 novel, hybridized willow species have been transplanted from
the university’s greenhouse to a field on Lafarge property. These species will
be monitored for enhanced traits such as disease resistance, biomass production
rate and drought resistance.
The plant is also studying, through Queen’s University and
Canadian Wollastonite, the potential for the use of wollastonite and diopside
as carbon sequestration solutions. The concept is to take these typically rare
minerals, which are available in great quantity in a newly discovered nearby
wollastonite quarry, dissolve them in a weak acid solution, and allow them to
react with kiln stack gases to form two products with commercial value, while
sequestering carbon dioxide, mercury, and sulphur dioxide.
another part of the biomass fuels project, the plant has been working with a
group of mechanical engineering students on an analysis of the potential use of
torrefaction to process raw biomass. The aim is to produce a stable, coal-like
fuel product with a high calorific value that could be entirely substituted for
Promoting Habitat Restoration
With the help of 250 local scouts, leaders, and parents, Lafarge
Bath planted 3,000 trees on its property for habitat restoration and climate
change education and mitigation.
Also in 2009, several areas around the plant, which have
historically been maintained as lawns, have been deliberately left untended,
allowing native plant species to retake the area. This has resulted in
wildflower meadows where many varieties of birds and butterflies reside.
The Bath plant is certified in the Wildlife Habitat Council’s
“Wildlife at Work” program. This certification was granted for a variety of
projects including the planting of forage plots for larger mammals living
onsite, and a monitoring program, in which employees track wildlife seen in
various areas around the site.
Employees do much of the work required to maintain this program on
their own time, underscoring their deep, personal commitment to environmental
Reusing Cement Kiln Dust
installation of new, axial blower technology allows Lafarge Bath to reuse
cement kiln dust (CKD) and optimize fuel consumption through improved process
stability, thereby further reducing CO2 emissions.
With additional kiln operation and quarry changes, the facility
has nearly eliminated CKD production. The plant was able to reach a 90%
reduction in CKD landfilling in 2009 as compared to 2008. Likewise, the CKD
monofills were improved because little to no CKD will be produced in the
plant installed additional equipment in 2009 that will eliminate the remaining
10% of CKD landfilling and the plant expects that it will no longer landfill
CKD as a result. The modifications allow the plant to temporarily store CKD
generated during initial start-up periods and to then reintroduce it either as
limestone additions or to return it as raw material.
Energy Saving and Intensity Applications
installation of the axial blower technology has also allowed Lafarge Bath to
improve kiln operation and increase its utilization of petroleum coke (pet
coke). Petcoke is a common type of alternative fuel derived as a byproduct of
refining operations; its usage increases energy efficiency due to its high
is anticipated that sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions will lower as well as
fuel consumption with the new blower system. This technology also allows for
improved chlorine and sulfur trapping.
The plant started a wet sand trial for its raw mix in 2009. Wet
sand allows the plant to run the natural gas powered sand dryer on a limited
basis, typically during colder weather. This trial proved successful, and the
practice of using wet sand in the raw mix will be continued into 2010.
The plant also started a cogeneration, pre-feasibility study aimed
at installing a system to capture waste heat from the kiln and use it to
generate electricity. Through capture of waste heat, the plant could produce
6-8 megawatts of power. At this time, the project is in its earliest stages,
and is intended to be ready for implementation in the next 3-5 years.
The possible addition of a biomass supplemental boiler has been
identified. Combined with the heat recovery unit, the biomass unit could
provide nearly all of the plant’s electricity.
New Era of Environmental Policy
A new era of environmental policy is emerging in Ontario. The
Province is in the midst of redeveloping guidelines and policies. The Bath
plant is the most knowledgeable industrial player in the province and has taken
a leading role in blazing the trail for future permitting efforts in Ontario.
Lafarge’s Bath plant produced a first of its kind permit application that
directly addressed cumulative effects, the precautionary principle, the public
right to know, and many other foundational elements of the Province’s Statement
of Environmental Values. Lafarge’s permitting strategy has set the pace and the
foundation for future permit applications.
plant has played a key role in information gathering to support the Government
of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan. The federal program challenges industry
to identify selected toxic compounds in their raw materials, fuels, and
products and to identify means of reducing public risk from their use.