Lafarge Canada and TransAlta Sign Agreement to Advance Low-Carbon Concrete with Fly Ash Repurposing Project

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by KnowESG

Lafarge Canada and TransAlta Corporation have made a deal that will help low-carbon concrete projects in Alberta move forward.

The newest project will repurpose landfilled fly ash, a waste product from TransAlta’s Canadian coal-fired electricity operations west of Edmonton, which ended in 2021. Ash will be used as a cement substitute in the production of concrete.

“Driving innovative and sustainable initiatives is a key part of our business in Alberta and across Western Canada,” said Brad Kohl, President and CEO Lafarge Canada (West). "Repurposing materials has enormous potential across the construction value chain. Transforming landfilled material, such as fly ash, into a usable product for construction is a win-win solution for all of us.”

“Our role in this project demonstrates TransAlta’s commitment to supporting innovative solutions for our customers that reduce their environmental footprints and meet their ESG goals. Using fly ash to make concrete creates a valuable opportunity to recycle one of the largest waste streams in North America. It’s a great complement to the zero-emissions electricity we are currently providing to Lafarge from our wind platform in Alberta,” said Blain van Melle, TransAlta Corporation’s Executive Vice President Alberta Business.

Before it can be used in concrete, fly ash must undergo a process of beneficiation. The Ash-TEK Ponded Ash Beneficiation System (PABS) will be used for the project. During trials, it consistently produced high-quality ash and showed a low carbon footprint and cost-effective operation.

Lafarge will employ this novel approach to the process, which includes removing moisture from the ash, milling it, and removing any excess carbon to ensure compliance with regulations and market standards.

Geocycle, a world leader in sustainable waste management, and Lafarge's Canadian subsidiary will also join the initiative. The organisation brings experience managing millions of tonnes of fly ash in the U.S.

“Landfilled fly ash sometimes has too much carbon, which affects how much air there is in the concrete. Once we can treat and separate that carbon, then the fly ash is ready to be used (up to 25% standard replacement) in place of cement,” commented Sophie Wu, Head of Geocycle, North America.

“We recognise that seizing opportunities to optimise cement is a key part of our CO2 reduction strategy,” said Kohl. “Thinking outside the box is a part of how we do business.”

In November 2021, the Government of Alberta gave $15 million to Lafarge Canada through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) to work with TransAlta on this project.

“Innovation works best when we collaborate,” commented Kohl. “The support of ERA is essential to helping us drive this progress. Now, we’re not just talking about it - we’re doing it right here in Alberta.”

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Source: Lafarge Canada


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