Lafarge’s cement plant in Bath, Ontario, is aggressively pursuing carbon emission reduction strategies through the planting of multiple energy crops that may eventually replace a portion of the 110,000t of coal and petcoke the plant requires as fuel each year. “We recognize that our industry (cement) represents five per cent of the world carbon emissions,” said Lafarge environmental and public affairs manager Robert Cumming.
“There’s also a very high demand for our products, for example, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings use a lot of cement.”
When initially embarking on the project, Lafarge had an agreement with biotechnology start-up firm Performance Plants, which provided its seed trait technologies for the planting of switchgrass, Little Bluestem, hemp, sorghum and tropical maize.
Financial restraints forced Performance Plants to pull out of the project, according to Cumming, but Lafarge is still moving forward with its previous plans.