Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon was on-hand at an announcement on Thursday where his UCP government said it will make $1.4 million in funding available to a cement company so it can study the feasibility of using carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce emissions at its Edmonton facility.
The Alberta government said Lehigh Cement “will be the first cement facility in North America” to explore such an option.
“Once again, Alberta is ahead of the pack,” Nixon said in a news release. “Exploring CCS to reduce emissions in the cement industry is a prime example of the innovative, game-changing technology our TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) system will support.
“It also shows the bold leadership and entrepreneurial spirit of our industries, that continue to set an example by seeking out unique solutions and untapped technologies that can lower emissions at home and around the world.”
Government funding for Lehigh Cement’s study will come out of the Emissions Reduction Alberta system. Should the CCS approach be considered feasible and move forward, the government said it could see Lehigh Cement “avoid up to 90 per cent of its current emissions per year and create about 20 full-time jobs” at its Edmonton plant.
Right now, Emissions Reduction Alberta receives its funding from the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation, which will transition to the TIER system on Jan. 1, 2020.
“We are part of HeidelbergCement Group’s vision of CO2 neutral concrete by 2050, and the potential of concrete to become the most sustainable building material,” said Joerg Nixdorf, president of the Canada Region for Lehigh Hanson.
Carbon capture refers to capturing carbon dioxide instead of allowing it into the atmosphere. CCS sees carbon stored somewhere other than the atmosphere, and that means deep underground. The practice allows companies to continue operating while reducing their carbon footprint.
A well-known CCS venture in Alberta, Shell Canada’s Quest project north of Edmonton, reached a milestone earlier this year when its total of stored carbon dioxide through the initiative reached four million tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of about one million cars.
–With files from Global News’ Melanie de Klerk and The Canadian Press
Watch below: Some Global News videos about carbon capture and storage.