Corporate Policy Regarding the Energy
Ciment Québec Inc. seeks to conduct its operating activities with respect to the governing environmental standards.
An intensive energy consumption industrial concern, Ciment Québec considers essential and has for objective the continued search for raw materials and fuels that can be alternatives to traditional materials and fossil fuels, as well as for equipments and methods allowing the energy efficiency optimization of its assets and consequently achieving a lower environmental footprint.
Thus, the managing teams of each of our group’s entities are responsible to look after the application of the best practices and means aimed at meeting this objective by identifying, according to the situation and needs, raw material and fuels better adapted to the environmental and economic constraints, more efficient operating methods and better performing equipments.
Cement production is an industrial process that consumes a great amount of energy. Using the heat generated by different fuels, the raw material (primarily made of limestone) must first become decarbonized by undergoing calcination, which removes over 93% of its content in CO2. This step heats the material to approximately 900°C. The material is then heated to 1,475°C, where it reaches the liquefaction point. Similar to volcanic lava during fusion, the various oxides in the material combine to form a different crystallographic structure than that of the original limestone. This material is quickly cooled to form the clinker, which will then be finely ground with other components to produce the different kinds of cement that we sell.
A very high level of heat energy is needed for this transformation, which is why the cement process requires large quantities of fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas or heavy oil.
The total energy (heat and electric) is almost always the main production cost for a cement plant.
To be in a better position to face the uncontrollable fluctuations of fossil fuel prices, CQI uses alternative fuels to replace those it has used for over 20 years.
In 2005, CQI administrators clearly expressed the strategic objective to considerably reduce our use of fossil fuels. This decision led to many huge investments in the area of alternative fuels, which propelled the St-Basile cement plant to the forefront of the North-American cement industry in this area. These investments were earmarked to adapt the baking facilities (pyro-processed) for the production process, and have equipment for receiving, transforming, storing, dosing, and combusting various waste materials used to replace large portions of the heat energy that had been provided by fossil fuels.
With nearly 30,000 horsepower, the St-Basile cement plant is a major user of electricity.
Having the goal of reducing its industrial carbon footprint in terms of its electricity consumption, CQI invested in changing its electrical facilities to be able to incorporate modern technologies to have more effective operations and management of its equipment and electrical components.
This step continues today, with our engineers striving to be on the forefront of new high—power developments.
These efforts have resulted in CQI being recognized by Hydro-Québec as a member of the Energy Savers’ Circle. We are the only cement plant with this status. This efficient network has only a few dozen members selected by Hydro-Québec. Members are recognized for their vision and success in considerably reducing their electricity consumption.
Ciment Québec Inc. is the only cement plant in Quebec that is a member of the Hydro-Québec’s Energy Savers’ Circle
http://www.hydroquebec.com/grandesentreprises/membres.html (in French)