More than one million tonnes of CO2 have been captured by SaskPower

  • 13 Aug 2016
  • The StarPhoenix
  • BRUCE JOHNSTONE

Sask. ‘clean coal’ project passes major milestone

More than one million tonnes of CO2 have been captured by SaskPower

It took the better part of two years to get there, but SaskPower’s controversial “clean coal” project finally achieved its initial target of capturing one million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Boundary Dam Unit 3 carbon capture and storage (BD3 CCS) project at Estevan captured 488,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first seven months of 2016, 62,200 more than captured in all of 2015, said SaskPower in its July update on the BD3 CCS project. With the capture of 76,546 tonnes in July, the plant has captured a total of 1,028,000 tonnes of CO2 to date.

“This means the carbon capture unit has surpassed the capture of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide since it began operations in October 2014,” the utility said in a press release.

The $1.5-billion CCS plant’s initial nameplate capacity was one million tonnes of CO2 per year, but after a series of production glitches and technical hiccups, the target was reduced to 800,000 tonnes per year.

In 2014, the plant captured 113,600 tonnes of CO2 from October to the end of the year. In 2015, the facility captured 426,100 tonnes of CO2.

The plant operated virtually 100 per cent of the hours in July, slowing for only 15 minutes at the end of the month, SaskPower said. The plant performed at 76 per cent of maximum capacity for the month, an improvement over 64 per cent in June.

In June, SaskPower encountered problems with the amine used in the plant’s capture process being affected by heat and coal particulates, but the corporation’s July update suggests the issues have been addressed.

“To increase daily production and potentially reduce periodic maintenance outages, SaskPower has applied new equipment to filter the amine solution at the centre of the process. This has been online for approximately 10 days and has so far reduced degradation of the amine solution by more than half,” the corporation said.

However, August could be a slower month, as SaskPower might have to conduct a week of planned maintenance on the facility. But the Crown corporation is considering options to push that back to the fall, a spokesman said.

The process remains on track to capture 800,000 tonnes in 2016, the corporation said. SaskPower also continues to meet federal emission regulations and the needs of its CO2 offtaker, Cenvous Energy.

In 2012, Cenovus contracted with SaskPower to supply it with up to 100 per cent of the CO2 produced for the company’s enhanced oil recovery project in Weyburn.

SaskPower paid a $7.5-million penalty to Cenovus in fiscal 201516 for failing to meet its contractual obligations to Cenovus.

But the corporation earned $15.1 million from CO2 sales during the same period, more than offsetting the penalty amounts.

The renegotiated contract now calls for Cenovus to take anywhere from 50 per cent to 99 per cent of the roughly 3,400 tonnes CO2 the plant produces per day.

 

 

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on August 15, 2016, in economic impact, other minerals, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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