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With its vast agricultural and forest resources, Canada has a potential competitive advantage over other nations in developing a green economy.

Energy Farm

The energy farm project was initiated in early 2008 as a joint project between the Lafarge Bath plant and Performance Plants in Kingston. This multi-year project was to evaluate crops that could be produced in the region and then burned as a replacement for the existing energy sources, coal and petroleum coke.

During the 2008 growing season a 10 hectare parcel of farm land located on Lafarge property was planted with maize, sorghum, Miscanthus and switchgrass. These four crops, two annuals and two perennials, have beenevaluated in other regions of the world for their use as energy crops and the goal was to assess the production requirements and yield potential in a local context. The sorghum and corn grew well, while the perennials did not establish well and were not continued.

2009 was to be the production year for a biomass cofire demonstration at the Bath plant. For this reason the project contracted a number of local farmers who grew over 200 acres of annual energy crops, including sorghum, millet, industrial hemp and maize. These crops were delivered to the Bath site in the fall of 2009.

A number of unexpected delays resulted in the final cofire trial not occurring until October 2010. The crops delivered in 2009 were supplemented with some locally sourced switchgrass, hay and oat hulls. The bales were processed with a forage harvester, transferred to the side of the facility and blown in through a side port into the kiln. A day long open house coincided with the trial and over 75 guests toured the plant, including representatives from all three levels of government, environmental NGOs and local farmers.

The reports on the trial are still being prepared as is a summary of the crop production experiences over the 2008 and 2009 growing seasons. However it can be stated that there was enough interest by all parties involved to want to move forward, which was the basis for Cement 2020.

Above are pictures and movies over the two years of crop production leading up to the biomass trial in the fall of 2010. We hope you get a sense of what was accomplished over this period as we move towards greener fuel use at Lafarge.

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