Media Releases

Holcim Canada, University of Toronto and the Ministry of Transportation complete first field application of Portland limestone cement

November 26, 2010

TORONTO, ON – In an effort to promote innovative and sustainable construction solutions the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), the University of Toronto (U of T) and Holcim (Canada) Inc. recently partnered to perform the first public agency trial of a concrete pavement section using a new class of cement called Portland-limestone cement (PLC).

PLC has strong environmental and sustainable construction benefits. The manufacturing of PLC generates significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and up to 10 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions as up to 15 per cent of the clinker used to produce regular Portland cement is replaced by limestone. The concrete produced with PLC is as strong and durable as concrete made with regular Portland cement.

Based on proposals from Holcim Canada, the ministry carried out two trials on existing Central Region contracts utilizing PLC. The first trial used PLC in a cast-in-place concrete barrier wall section, located on the westbound QEW between Brant St. and Burloak Drive. Based on the favourable outcome, a second trial was performed on September 2010 using PLC in slipformed concrete pavement on an exit lane to Hurontario Street of Highway 401 eastbound (watch how the PLC testing is being carried out   ). Both trials represented the first field applications of the new cement in structural and pavement applications by a public agency in Canada.

The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto has played an instrumental role in testing this concrete and will be monitoring the trial sections over the next three years to gain valuable insight into field performance.

According to Professor Doug Hooton, who also holds the Industrial Research Chair in Concrete Durability and Sustainability at U of T Engineering, “The concretes being used by Holcim Canada in this contract had already resulted in approximately a 24 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions relative to plain Portland cement concrete by using GranCem, a slag-based product. In this trial section, PLC has been used in combination with GranCem and the carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 33 per cent compared to plain Portland cement concrete without any anticipated impact on concrete properties or durability. The cooperation with MTO in allowing this important trial shows the ministry’s commitment to adoption of innovative changes to improve green house gas emissions associated with new infrastructure.”

“Although relatively new to Canada, PLC has been used in Europe for over 25 years,” said Paul Ostrander, President and CEO of Holcim Canada. “Holcim Canada’s Cement plants in Mississauga, Ontario and Joliette, Quebec currently manufacture PLC for trials in Ontario and Quebec. Moving forward, PLC will also qualify for LEED® credits.”

About Holcim (Canada) Inc.
Employing approximately 3,500 Canadians and generating annual revenues over $1.3 billion, Holcim (Canada) Inc. is a leading producer and supplier of products and services for the construction industry, serving customers across Canada.

About University of Toronto
Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in 10 renowned academic hospitals.

The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus. U of T faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at any university in the U.S. or Canada other than Harvard. As a measure of impact, U of T consistently ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world.

Watch how the PLC testing is being carried out at:


For more information, please contact:

Junaina Saulat
External Communications