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Forest sector helps Canada reach net-zero target through decarbonization of lime kilns

June 30, 2023  By FPInnovations

FPInnovations acknowledges the contribution of the forest industry to the decarbonization strategy of lime kilns that aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by kraft pulp mills. This strategy developed under Natural Resources Canada leadership and FPInnovations expertise will facilitate the use of local forest residues in replacement for the fossil fuels currently used to feed lime kilns, thus ensuring the maximization of forest supply.

Thorough process

Lime kilns are the largest emitters of non-biogenic GHG emissions in a pulp mill; therefore, they were identified as a well-defined and viable opportunity to target decarbonization. FPInnovations has surveyed technologies available to identify the most suitable pathways applicable to the Canadian industry context, including economics, design, and operational aspects as well as impact on the pulping process itself and its energy efficiency.

“A techno-economic comparison was completed across all identified pathways and FPInnovations compared the impact on GHG reduction for each pathway based on direct fossil fuel replacement potential. The analysis was completed with support of a steering committee consisting of various industry representatives across the country and closely observed by Natural Resources Canada,” explains Victor Padilla, manager, corrosion and thermochemical processes and leader of the project. “While the strategy has been completed for the overall Canadian environment, the implementation of fuel switching will need to be customized for each specific mill based on several factors including kiln design and its operational characteristics.”

Major environmental and economic benefits

It is estimated that a typically sized Canadian kraft mill could reduce emissions by 40 kt/y of CO2 eq; if half of the 28 kraft lime kilns in operation in Canada switched to biogenic fuel, it could reduce Canadian GHG emissions by over 500,000 t/y of CO2 eq, to significantly contribute to Canada’s net-zero targets while increasing the sector’s competitiveness and creating a huge opportunity for the Canadian forest sector. What’s more, investment into decarbonization of one lime kiln would result in a positive financial impact of about $6.8 M/y incentivized by a carbon tax of $170/tCO2 in 2030.


“Decarbonizing our industry is a critical path moving forward. We continue to support the forest industry as a technology honest broker to identify the best solution with the least amount of risk to enable decarbonization of lime kilns in Canada,” said Stéphane Renou, president and CEO of FPInnovations.

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