Low Carbon Fuel Demonstration Pilot Plant

Project Lead:  Richard Fry, NRCan – Ottawa
Lead Proponent:  Lafarge Canada Inc.
Location:  Bath, Ontario
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 2,678,000
Project Total:  $ 8,952,000
Strategic Area:  Bioenergy


The global cement industry is a very significant source of Greenhouse Gases, emitting about 5% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which is about two and one-half times that of Canada’s total emissions. One of the major sources of CO2 from a cement production plant is the fuel used to produce the high temperatures required in the kiln where raw materials are reacted to produce the cement clinker. In Canada, the primary fuels are coal or petroleum coke, both of which are high carbon content fossil fuels. This Project will involve a 3-year long term testing of lower carbon fuels, as a partial replacement (up to 10%) for the pulverized coal/petroleum coke mix currently used at Lafarge’s Bath, Ontario plant.

Project Objective:

The objective of this project will be to demonstrate the viability of lower carbon fuels, as a partial replacement (up to 10%) for the pulverized coal/petroleum coke mix currently used at Lafarge’s Bath, Ontario plant.   This includes processing the raw materials into a useful form, developing and installing an injection system, running fuel trials and compiling the results of the carbon savings resulting from this process.  The results of these trials will be used as the basis for applications to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for the permanent use of low carbon fuels at the Bath plant and could be used by other Cement Industry companies.

This Project will build on the previous use of purpose-grown biomass at the plant but will use low carbon fuels that are more economical, namely waste materials such as railway ties, telephone poles, construction and demolition waste, shingles, paper sludge and coated cardboard.

Benefits to Canada:

This demonstration plant can facilitate the replacement of 30% of the fossil fuels in the cement industry with the lower carbon fuels by 2020, which could result in a carbon dioxide reduction of well over a million tonnes per year from the Canadian industry. In addition, it is expected that emissions of nitrogen oxides would be reduced by 5% to 10% and that emission of mercury would be significantly lower.

The sourcing, aggregation, delivery, processing, testing, equipment supply and blending of the low carbon fuels will create local economic development opportunities. As well, annual coal import to Canada for all industries has been valued at over $1 billion and the replacement of 30% of these imports with locally sourced fuels would retain up to $300 million annually plus spin-off economic benefits.

Project Status:

Pilot plant engineering continued in the early winter of 2013 and equipment continued to be delivered to the site. The system when completed will allow the plant to store, mix, and feed low carbon fuels to the Bath Cement plant in order to conduct before and after emission tests, quality assessments, and to determine the benefits of low carbon fuels as well as any obstacles towards their increased use in the cement industry. Partners include Queen's University, WWF Canada, Pollution Probe, Lafarge Canada, Scott Environmental, Rail Link, and the Cement Association of Canada.

A pre-commissioning trial was completed in December 2013 which allowed for some initial fuel analysis as well as proof of concept for the burner modification and operational procedures.

The research team continued to conduct tests into low carbon fuel combustibility and prepared analysis of baseline emission data. Fuel supply partners supported the December trial. The project team hopes to commence full-scale testing in the summer of 2014.

Project Partners:

Carbon Management Canada
Cement Association of Canada
Ontario Centres of Excellence
Queens University
Rail Link Inc.
Scott Environmental Group