concrete carbon neutral

Cement facility explores carbon reduction tech

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

An Edmonton manufacturer will be the first cement facility in North America to examine the feasibility of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce emissions.

The Government of Alberta is investing $1.4 million through Emissions Reduction Alberta to support a $3-million feasibility study, which will look at capturing and storing emissions from Lehigh Cement’s Edmonton plant. If the project goes forward, Lehigh could avoid up to 90 per cent of its current emissions per year and create about 20 full-time jobs.

The project aligns with Alberta’s new Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020. TIER will help industries deploy pioneering, emissions-reducing technologies that will keep businesses competitive. The system will also support research and investment in clean, Alberta-based technologies like CCS.

CCS is a technology that can capture and store more than 90 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Alberta is a leader in CCS development, having taken considerable steps with commercial-scale funding, regulatory enhancements and knowledge sharing over the past decade. The Alberta-based Quest project, for example, is the first application of CCS in the world at an oilsands upgrader. The facility has captured and safely injected more than four million tonnes of emissions since 2015.

“Reducing emissions in energy-intensive industries like cement requires going beyond incremental improvement to accelerating the development and market introduction of new and emerging low-carbon technologies. Emissions Reduction Alberta’s funding allows industry to learn by doing projects of the right scale, scope and effectiveness. This work will help advance the actions Alberta and the world need to meet their economic and environmental ambitions,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta.

Lehigh Cement Edmonton estimates a capture rate of 600,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. If 90 per cent of those emissions were captured, Lehigh would avoid 540,000 tonnes of emissions annually – the same as taking 104,000 cars off the road for one year.

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