Lafarge’s investment of hundreds of millions of dollars has resulted in an efficient and reliable plant using recent and proven technology. Designed to lower fuel and energy consumption, the 10-year project included the construction of a new Kiln 6, environmental controls upgrade to Kiln 5, and the shut-down of the older, less efficient Kiln 4. The project increased the cement plant capacity by over 60 per cent from 1.3 million to 2.2 million metric tons per year and is anticipated to have an economic impact of approximately $1.2 billion in Alberta.
Technology upgrades led to a 60 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions, a 40 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and a significant reduction in fugitive dust and noise coming from the plant’s equipment. The Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant has also achieved zero water discharge from its operations.
Modernization highlights include:
- New Kiln 6 is a long dry technology with a five-stage pre-heater pre-calciner and is approximately 30 per cent cleaner when it comes to sulphur dioxide and 75 per cent for nitrogen oxide emissions
- $20-million upgrade of the existing Kiln 5 introduced additional dust mitigation and noise abatement equipment that reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by 60 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 40 per cent.
- Shut down of Kiln 4 lowered greenhouse gas emissions from combustion by 25 per cent and met new emission targets established by the provincial government
- Material handling systems were designed for lower power consumption including air slides and bucket elevators that move cement horizontally instead of pneumatically
- Numerous emission control systems—while innovative 40 years ago—were replaced to meet today’s environmental regulations
The new plant also has a circular pre-homo pile and a vertical finish mill, technologies that typify recent cement plant design and construction.
As part of the modernization project, Lafarge built an aluminum storage hall to house raw materials, protecting them from wind and weather and reducing the spread of dust into the community. Traditionally, the plant’s quarry operations required the materials used for cement making to be stored outside. With the high winds near Exshaw, those materials become airborne and contribute to fugitive dust issues. The EcoDome, named by Bow Valley residents after a public contest, incorporates a stacker/reclaimer system that creates a more efficient cement production process and significantly helps with the consistency and quality of Lafarge’s cement product. At approximately 110-metres in diameter with a total volume of 53,000 tons of material, the EcoDome was the most talked about feature of the expansion project.
The Winter 2016 Issue of Alberta Construction Magazine named Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant’s modernization the 2016 Top Industrial Project Over $50-million. The project was recognized for its environmental achievements, its economic impact from increased production capacity and for overcoming challenging mountain weather scenarios. The project was specifically acknowledged for achieving a significant accomplishment of nearly three-million man hours without a lost-time incident.