Cement Americas

WIN 2017

Cement Americas provides comprehensive coverage of the North and South American cement markets from raw material extraction to delivery and tranportation to end user.

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2 CEMENT AMERICAS • Winter 2017 • www.cementamericas.com CEMENTSCOPE St Marys Cement, a Votorantim Cimentos company, is taking part in a demonstration project that reveals how carbon dioxide waste can fuel the production of valu- able raw materials. The key to this process is algae and the project, which is Canada's first algal biorefinery demonstration pilot, was recently showcased during an open house at St Marys cement plant in St Mary's, Ontario. The project represents a broad collaboration among clean tech scientists, the Canadian government and sustainability experts at St Marys Cement. The unique technologies that drive the project come from Pond Technologies, an algae production com- pany based in Markham, Ontario. Extensive techni- cal support and resources also come from Canada's National Research Council through its Algal Carbon Conversion Program. St Marys provides the environ- ment and raw materials to help test and advance this innovative technology. Untreated emissions coming directly from the kiln smokestack at the St Marys cement plant are channeled into a custom photobioreactor developed by the Pond team. Fast-growing algae inside the reactor consume the gases, creating tons of biomass in the process. "We as a species produce more carbon dioxide than anything else," noted Steve Martin, CEO and founder of Pond Technologies. "With algal conversion technology, we now have a way of harnessing this waste product to create new resources." Though algae from the project are currently used for NRC studies, they may someday be used to produce valuable products ranging from bio-fuel and animal feeds to soil amendments, pharmaceuticals and nutri- tional supplements. The purpose of the $4-million, 1,500-sq.-ft. plant is to demonstrate the technology's overall potential – an essential step in the development of bigger solutions, said Martin. HOW IT WORKS Pond Technologies' proprietary process uses advanced photobioreactors that produce the light filled, CO2-rich conditions in which algae thrive. The light comes from custom-designed, high-intensity lights that flash con- tinuously. The flashing tricks the algae into thinking the days are very short, triggering rapid growth, Martin explained. "Algae grow like any other organism, just at a tre- mendous rate – upwards of four to eight generations a day," he said. "Our process is specially designed to harness algae's growth potential to produce high vol- umes of biomass." To maximize growth, Pond Technologies' bioreactor uses uniquely designed LED lights that literally out- shine the sun. "Ordinary sunlight can only penetrate the algae me- dium – the water-to-algae mix – at a depth of 2 cm," Martin explained. "By contrast, our bioreactor achieves 30 to 40 cm of penetration, yielding denser growth in the smallest footprint of any comparable bioreactor." St Marys Cement Pilots New Project to Reduce Emissions The 25,000-litre photobioreactor at St Marys Cement.

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