Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project
The Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project is SaskPower’s flagship CCS initiative. Through the development of the world’s first and largest commercial-scale CCS project of its kind, SaskPower is making a viable technical, environmental and economic case for the continued use of coal.
The Boundary Dam CCS Project rebuilt a coal-fired generation unit with carbon capture technology, resulting in low-emission power generation. In the fall of 2014, the project came online as the World's First Post-Combustion Coal-Fired CCS Project integrated with a power station.
This project transformed the aging Unit #3 at Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan, Saskatchewan into a reliable, long-term producer of up to 115 megawatts (MW) of base-load electricity, capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year, the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off Saskatchewan roads annually.
The captured CO2 is sold and transported by pipeline to nearby oil fields in southern Saskatchewan where it will be used for enhanced oil recovery. CO2 not used for enhanced oil recovery will be stored in the Aquistore Project.
In addition to CO2, SaskPower will sell other byproducts captured from the project. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) will be captured, converted to sulphuric acid and sold for industrial use. Fly ash, another byproduct of coal combustion, will be sold for use in ready-mix concrete, pre-cast structures and concrete products.
- Produce 115 megawatts (MW) of power, which is approximately enough to power 100,000 Saskatchewan homes
- Capable of capturing up to 1 million tonnes of CO2
- Capable of reducing the SO2 emissions from the coal process by up to 100 per cent and the CO2 by up to 90 per cent
- Demonstrate the economic, technical and environmental feasibility for coal-fired power generation with CCS
- Support the development of industry-wide CCS regulations and policies
Why carbon capture and storage on coal?
Coal is used to provide power around the globe — it’s a non-renewable energy source that generates approximately 40 per cent of the world’s electricity. Approximately 40 per cent of the electricity generated in the province uses coal as a fuel source. We have lots of coal in Saskatchewan, and it’s cheaper than using other fossil fuels in our power plants. The technology behind coal plants, which operate 24/7, is well-developed and extremely reliable.
Natural gas prices rise and fall unpredictably, while coal is abundant and affordable in Saskatchewan. Government regulations and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world means we need to find a way to keep producing affordable power, but in a way that reduces our impact on the environment.
There's been a steady increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s. As the world’s population increases, and developing countries continue to industrialize and increase their standard of living, CO2 emissions will continue to grow.
Canada is among the first in the world to make laws on emission reduction for coal-fired plants, while governments in the United States and Europe are discussing targets. In 2011, the federal government announced strict performance standards for new coal-fired units and units that have reached the end of their useful life. These regulations are expected to result in a reduction of GHG emissions in Canada of about 214 megatonnes — equal to taking 2.6 million personal vehicles off the road per year.
As SaskPower works on renovating and growing our aging power infrastructure, coal remains the most affordable power source for customers and CCS will make that coal sustainable for our environment.
With the Boundary Dam Project and research done at our second venture into CCS, the Shand Carbon Capture Test Facility, Saskatchewan is adding to worldwide research also being conducted elsewhere in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, China and Japan. The Boundary Dam CCS Project has made Saskatchewan, Canada a global leader in carbon capture and storage (CCS).
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