Lafarge North America Inc. and Performance Plants Inc. (PPI), a biotechnology company, have announced a multiyear agreement to grow and develop clean-energy biomass grasses and woods for use as fuel at the Lafarge Cement Plant in Bath, Ontario.
Nonfood grass crops were planted in May and June on 25 acres of land owned by Lafarge adjacent to the cement plant. These included perennial species of Miscanthus and switchgrass in addition to high-biomass varieties of sorghum and maize. A local farmer will supervise the growing and harvesting of the plants. Poplar, willow and industrial hemp will be planted on suitable land later in the season. After the bales are harvested, they will be processed into fuel pellets, which will then be used by the Lafarge plant to fire its cement kiln.
The company expects to conduct its first trial use in the fall of 2009.