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Tires touted as lower carbon fuel for NS cement plant

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 3/31/2017 12:13:00 PM

Cement company Lafarge Canada Inc. will try once again to gain permission to burn tires as fuel at its Brookfield Cement Plant in Nova Scotia. A similar proposal in 2007 was shot down by Nova Scotia in the face of public objection and a report that argued that there were better ways to deal with the province’s end-of-life tires.

Lafarge has submitted an environmental assessment of a proposal that would burn up to 6,000 tonnes of tires per year at the Brookfield Cement Plant’s kiln #2.

Lafarge is also positioning the proposal as one adopting a “lower carbon fuel” option. This claim is based on three years of research at Dalhousie University that found that tires emit 30% less carbon than the coal currently burned in the kiln, and cut nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by between 10% and 15%.

Lafarge also has its eye on the looming price on carbon. Nova Scotia will be imposing a cap-and-trade system on large emitters beginning in 2018, and though the cap is not expected to be onerous at first, it will be cut annually, placing pressure on emitters like Lafarge.

Lafarge notes that the fuel mix at its Brookfield Cement Plant is already 35% lower carbon (shredded non-recyclable plastics and asphalt shingles) — the maximum based on global experience. According to its submission, “[i]n order to move from 35% to 50% fossil fuel replacement with lower carbon fuels, the goal of this project, the only proven technology for this kiln design is to use mid-kiln injection scrap tire systems which are in use throughout North America.”

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