Boundary Dam CCS project unveiling

Paul Boughton

SaskPower has launched its flagship carbon capture and storage (CCS) project - officially unveiling a much anticipated addition to its Boundary Dam power plant in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The project has the potential to be a global game changer. Boundary Dam combines post-combustion CCS with coal-fired power generation that will reduce carbon emissions by 90%; transforming one of the world’s most abundant and affordable sources of energy to one of the cleanest.

Abundance and affordability are key factors in Saskatchewan. The area boasts approximately 300 years supply of good quality coal, which currently generates around half of the province’s electricity. The transformation of the coal fired power station unit into a producer of low-carbon, base-load electricity; promises to capture 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off the road.

Some of the captured CO2 will be liquefied and bought by oil companies for use in enhanced oil recovery, helping to extract otherwise unobtainable crude from the ground and providing an additional revenue stream for the plant. The project will also capture sulphur dioxide, which can be converted to sulphuric acid and used in industrial processes. An additional by-product of coal combustion, fly ash, will also be captured and sold for use in concrete goods. The remaining CO2 will be stored permanently through a process that injects the gas in excess of 3km under the ground.

The project promises to become a model for plants around the world in demonstrating a long-term, fiscally responsible way of reducing emissions. It is hoped that these forerunner projects will help towards building much needed confidence amongst government, the general public and critically, the financial investment community. The project successfully builds upon previous applications and is the world’s largest operating CCS project. 

Luke Warren, CEO of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, comments: “The launch goes beyond a single project. SaskPower has made significant progress in making a valuable contribution to demonstrating a viable technical, environmental and economic case for the application of CCS to power plants. It is hoped that Boundary Dam will form part of a much needed commercial proof point that the economics make sense.”

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