As an industry leader in the global lime industry, in business for over 70 years, Graymont has the privilege of supplying products and solutions that are essential to healthy, modern societies and crucial to a decarbonized economy.
Among a myriad of vital applications, lime is used in the purification of drinking water; the treatment of wastewater; in agriculture; for scrubbing air emissions from incinerators, power plants and industrial plants; in the manufacture of steel, paper, and glass; and in the production of critical minerals and materials necessary for a decarbonized world. Lime is also part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it does re-carbonize under certain circumstances, hence removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Notwithstanding its positive contributions to the global economy, and society at large, the lime industry is facing a climate-change challenge: the ‘calcination’, or burning, of limestone to produce quicklime is an emission-intensive process. The lime industry, along with steel, cement, and other industries with hard-to-abate emissions, is a significant source of GHG emissions. With climate change at the forefront of today’s environmental concerns, Graymont recognizes its responsibility to further reduce its carbon footprint — and to collaboratively work with other industry participants to help secure a place for lime as a vital element of tomorrow’s decarbonized world.
To that end, Graymont supports the Paris Agreement and is committed to actively participating in the realization of its goal to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. We are working to further reduce our Company’s carbon footprint, with the aim of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by the year 2050.
Given the magnitude of the challenge and the complexity of today’s global supply chains, achieving the Paris Agreement targets will require a collaborative effort by individual businesses, industry associations, various levels of governments, and society at large.
The most-critical element of the challenges facing the lime industry is posed by its difficult-to-abate process emissions. Graymont has succeeded in recent years in improving its fuel efficiency and steadily reducing its combustion-related emissions intensity. However, to markedly reduce their process emissions, lime producers will need to deploy step-change technologies on a commercial scale.
Graymont believes that the most promising technologies involve carbon capture, and usage or sequestration (CCS). Given the magnitude of the capital investment required to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of CCS technologies on a large scale, the lime industry will need to work with various levels of government and other stakeholders to facilitate their implementation. We believe governments will need to establish a reliable, long-term market price for carbon, create a level playing field in terms of the regulatory framework with respect to tariffs and taxes in various jurisdictions, and promote and develop carbon transportation and sequestration infrastructure that is open to all. In addition, financial incentive programs will be needed to accelerate the development of these technologies.
In return, Graymont and the lime industry can both decarbonize and continue to provide societal benefits as providers of environmental solutions and facilitators of global economic growth. Furthermore, the employment and economic opportunities available to the members of the communities where Graymont operates will be enhanced.
And finally, Graymont’s customers will directly benefit from the availability of lime and limestone solutions that will help them meet their own climate-action targets.
The ‘calcination’ or burning of limestone to produce quicklime is an energy-intensive process that has categorized the lime industry, along with steel, cement and others, as significant sources of GHG emissions.
In 2020, Graymont emitted 5.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent from its facilities. CO2 comes directly out of the stone during the chemical transformation process, accounting for the largest portion of Graymont’s GHG emissions. The fossil fuels most commonly utilized to fire our lime kilns represent the second largest source of CO2 emissions. Fuel consumed by machinery and equipment as well as indirect emissions from electricity account for the balance of the company’s CO2 emissions.
Graymont’s GHG Emissions Profile
Improved energy efficiency translates into reduced levels of air pollutants and GHG emissions as well as lower costs. Accordingly, we continue working hard to reduce the volume and intensity of both NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and SOx (oxides of sulphur) emissions, which are by-products of combustion.
While break-through technologies, which will enable us to markedly reduce GHG emissions, are looming on the horizon, Graymont has been proactively seeking out opportunities for more-readily-achievable initiatives aimed at curbing emissions, such as enhanced process-control systems and the increased use of low-carbon fuels.
Those efforts clearly are yielding results: in 2020, Graymont achieved record low fuel-related emissions intensity (the amount of GHG emitted by combustion to produce one tonne of lime), down 21.7% from the Company’s 2004 baseline.
% Change compared to 2004 emissions intensity