Canadian authorities have given the green light to a C$1.24 billion (US$1.3 billion) carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plant in Saskatchewan, which aims to slash annual greenhouse gas emissions by around 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The Saskatchewan government this week approved construction of the Boundary Dam CCS project near the town of Estevan in the province’s south east.
The project – a partnership between the federal and Saskatchewan governments, provincial utility SaskPower and private investors – will upgrade one of the six coal-fired power generating units at the ageing 842MW Boundary Dam power station, integrating carbon capture technology for enhanced oil recovery operations. It will also scrub sulphur dioxide from the exhaust gas to be used in the production of sulphuric acid.
Shell subsidiary Cansolv will licence its carbon capture process, Hitachi will supply steam turbine technology and SNC Lavalin will perform engineering, procurement and construction work on the project.
Construction will begin immediately with the project becoming operational in 2014. The upgraded generating unit will have a capacity of 110MW.
"This project will forge an environmentally sustainable path for the production of coal-fired electricity in Saskatchewan," said Rob Norris, minister responsible for government-owned SaskPower, adding that the province will continue to pursue renewable energy options including wind and biomass.
Malcolm Wilson, acting CEO of International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of CO2 at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, welcomed the approval and said it should renew confidence in CCS developments worldwide.
“This will be a great start and the process and operation will teach us a lot,” he said. “It is an important step for Canada and globally.”
The government of neighbouring Alberta is investing C$2 billion across four proposed CCS projects.
By. Charlotte Dudley
Source: Environmental Finance