Burning Tires: A Burning Concern

What happens when a cement plant wants to initiate a pilot project to burn tires for fuel? A lot of hell gets raised.

Lafarge Canada’s cement plant near Brookfield, Colchester County, in Nova Scotia was given the initial green light in July 2017 to move forward with the project, but a group of concerned residents filed for a judicial review of the ministerial decision. The judge said he can’t rule without the results of the pilot project.

The one-year pilot project is expected to burn 400,000 discarded tires. Local residents are concerned about being used as a “test case” and an “experiment” while “toxic dioxins and furans will be emitted from the smoke stack.”

An attorney for Lafarge Canada said, “It’s not a case where Lafarge is being invited to go out and burn 400,000 tires, no questions asked. There is ongoing monitoring. Any new information about any adverse affects must be submitted to the minister. There is not a lack of oversight.”

In fact, Lafarge Canada Inc. has installed state-of-the-art continuous emission monitoring systems at its Brookfield Cement plant at a cost of $830,000. Analyzers are now measuring plant emissions including Sulphur Dioxide, Oxides of Nitrogen (often referred to as NOx), Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen and Hydrocarbons every 10 seconds. This new scientific equipment builds upon existing process measurement tools already capturing opacity (a measure of dust levels), temperatures and feed rates.

“We are looking forward to using these new analyzers to aid us in optimizing our plant’s performance and to enable the research team to better do their work. The one-year pilot project for scrap tire fuel demonstration will allow us to garner the scientific evidence we need to assure ourselves, Nova Scotia Environment, and the community that the use of scrap tires in place of coal is not only safe but will provide many benefits – just as their use does in Europe and the United States. The scrap tire program at Brookfield is a critical technology for the plant as part of Lafarge’s re-tooling for a lower carbon footprint and we look forward to sharing the results with the community when they become available,” said Rob Cumming, environment director for Lafarge.

Let the project begin.

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