Canada aims to prove 'clean coal' works

2013-01-28 20:46
Navajo Generating Station, from Lake Powell, in Page, Arizona.  ( Ross D. Franklin, AP/File)

Navajo Generating Station, from Lake Powell, in Page, Arizona. ( Ross D. Franklin, AP/File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Oslo - A technology that holds the hope for cleaner use of coal will be tested on a commercial scale for the first time in Canada next year, aiming to resolve big uncertainties about the vast amount of power it will need.

Saskatchewan Power hopes that a $1.24bn refit of its 45-year-old Boundary Dam power plant to capture carbon dioxide emissions will make investors think twice about shifting to gas-fired plants from dirtier coal.

"This will come in on time and on budget," Michael Monea, head of SaskPower's carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives, told Reuters in an interview.

The company hopes that its carbon capture technology will reduce Boundary Dam's power output by only a quarter or thereabouts, making it the world's first commercially viable large-scale CCS project at a coal-fired power plant.

Success could spur interest in CCS technology from China to the United States as an effective way to fight climate change.

"We need this as an example of carbon capture and storage actually happening," said Camilla Svendsen Skriung, of the Norwegian environmental group Zero.

The plant is designed to capture one million tonnes a year of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from April 2014. It will also trap the pollutant sulphur dioxide.

SaskPower agreed last month to sell the carbon dioxide it captures to Canadian oil company Cenovus Energy - when injected into an oil well, the gas raises the pressure and forces more oil to the surface. Monea did not reveal the price agreed.

Monea said that the key to proving that clean coal is possible is to limit the "parasitic load" - the amount of power needed to capture the carbon and sulphur.


"The big deal for us is parasitic load. The old 140MW plant will be new again, so will probably generate 150 to 155MW. Then the capture plant may mean we lose 40MW of power," he said.

"I am hoping that we will net higher than 110MW [after the carbon has been captured]."

There are a few other commercial carbon capture projects, such as the one at the Sleipner natural gas field off Norway run by Statoil, which re-injects a million tons of carbon dioxide a year beneath the seabed.

However, high costs and low penalties for emitting carbon mean that such projects have failed to catch on for coal-fired plants as part of efforts to slow climate change.

"Once people hear that the economics are very good, maybe we won't have everybody dash to gas and throw out coal," Monea said. "We hope the rest of the world can learn from our plant."

SaskPower says that the plant will reduce carbon emissions by about 90% - the equivalent, it says, of taking 250 000 cars off the roads in the province every year.

Almost 200 nations have set themselves a deadline of end-2015 to agree a United Nations-led pact to combat climate change, with its implementation set for the start of 2020. But after past failures, there is little prospect of a global price on carbon emissions that would help to make carbon capture more viable.

Monea said that lessons from the Boundary Dam refit, aided by a federal government subsidy of $240m, will cut costs and mean that future refits can be completed without state aid.

The costs of the Boundary Dam refit were comparable to those for replacing it with a new natural gas plant, Monea said. The plant has ready access to water, which might otherwise be a constraint.

The cost of the refit means that power prices paid by SaskPower's clients will rise by a few cents from the 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt that they pay now, he said.

The European Commission last month said that it failed to find a winner in a contest to fund EU carbon capture and storage projects, deepening doubts that the technology can soon emerge to help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more on:    canada  |  climate change  |  energy
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.