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Lafarge bets on biomass to reduce CO2 emissions

World Cement,

The Lafarge cement plant in Bath, Ontario, Canada, is implementing a scheme to plant multiple energy crops in a bid to reduce its carbon emissions. The facility currently requires 110 000 tpa of coal and petcoke as fuel.

Last year, Lafarge started a life cycle assessment study with Queen’s University’s Energy and Environmental Policy Institute, and has been working with researchers on trial plantations on 2500 acres of land surrounding the facility. Lafarge had previously rented the land to farmers, who returned it after it became no longer useful.

Substantial savings
Robert Cumming, Lafarge’s environmental and public affairs manager, explained the aims of the project. “During this multiyear trial, we will try to confirm that we can get at least a 90% savings on CO2 by growing these crops. It would be a 100% savings if we could use tractors fired by biomass. We’re looking at carbon sequestration while root structures are being established in the first two years. We’re hopeful that farmers, should this business (biomass crops) take off, will eventually earn some carbon or offset credits for such a land-use change. The only way that can happen is to have a scientific under opinion to support it and that’s what this is about – life cycle assessments for purpose-grown crops - partly aimed at the long term, or when we begin to trade carbon credits. We want to earn rock-solid data, so there won’t be any questions about what we’re doing.”

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