I had the opportunity this week to visit a St. Marys Cement plant in the small and scenic town of St. Marys, Ontario. A subsidiary of Brazilian cement giant Votorantim Cimentos, the company is working with Toronto-based Pond Biofuels on a project that turns smokestack emissions from the plant into algae. The algae, based on a strain taken from the local Thames River, gobble up CO2, SOx, NOx and other pollutants that are piped into special algae photobioreactors, two of which are housed in a pilot facility located beside the plant. The algae are harvested and can be dried using low-grade waste heat from the cement plant’s kilns. The dried algae can then be burned in the plant’s kilns instead of petroleum coke, helping to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions. Alternatively — and if the economics justify it — the algae can be processed into biodiesel and other green fuels/chemicals.
I decided, for the first time, to take a video camera with me and film a walkthrough of the pilot facility to give my readers a better sense of how this all works. I’m new to this whole video and movie editing game, but I did manage to put something decent together, which I post here as a YouTube upload. It’s nearly 10 minutes long, but if you’re interested in the process you may find it worth watching. Like I said, it’s my first time doing this — I would appreciate any constructive feedback.