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Boundary dam carbon capture project

Posted on September 29, 2020 by Sunny South News

Fossil fuels continue to play a significant role in the global energy profile. Proving carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is critical to securing the long-term viability of sustainable coal production in Saskatchewan and around the world.

In the fall of 2014, Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan, became the first power station in the world to successfully use Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Technology. Unit # 3 CCS produces 115 megawatts (MW) of power –enough to power 100,000 Saskatchewan homes. Capable of reducing the SO2 emissions from the lignite coal process by up to 100% per cent and the CO2 by up to 90 per cent.

Why carbon capture and storage on coal? Coal is still the most widely used power source in the world, making up to 40 percent of the world’s electricity.

Saskatchewan has lots of lignite coal. It’s cheap to use and coal plants are very reliable. However, burning coal also creates harmful CO2 emissions.

SaskPower is increasing our use of natural gas, hydro, wind and solar. But even with these power sources, we still need a constant power source that keeps the lights on 24/7 and is affordable for our customers. We also need to do all of this while renewing our aging infrastructure. By capturing and safely storing CO2 emissions before they reach the atmosphere, we can help ensure a brighter future for both our province and the world.

During August, the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facility at Boundary Dam Power Station captured 78,127 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The average daily capture rate when CCS was online was 2522 tonnes per day, with a peak one-day capture rate of 2716 tonnes. The CCS facility was online 98.4% of the month, coming offline for 12 hours due to issues with BD3 electrostatic precipitators.

I attended the Weyburn, Saskatchewan technical school to take my Power Engineer 4th class course in 1969, and, after graduation Hector Bourassa and myself were selected to work at SPC – Boundary Dam because we had the highest marks. The other engineers were asked to work elsewhere in the province.

I was astonished to see such a huge Power Plant, the combustion chamber was nine floors high and the steam pressure was 27600 KPA for the 150 MW Boiler – Turbine Unit. My initial job was to work as a Coalhandler where I was responsible to fill the hoppers of coal on conveyor belts into the crusher where it was later pulverized into the combustion chamber with natural gas. The atmosphere was hot and dusty. Later on I was shift engineer at the EGS 66MW, 6900 KPA where they had stoker-fired boilers. One would have to keep alert operating this plant at all times. When the Estevan Generating Station was closed I left the company and found work elsewhere. For the past 25 years I worked in various high pressure power plants and upgraded the Power Engineer’s certificate.

I am glad to hear that the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny, has decided to go back to coal production and utilize it in power stations throughout the province of Alberta. He is considering to develop the Carbon Capture and Storage project of coal in Thermal Stations throughout Alberta.

Paul Jones

Power Engineer 2nd class, Coaldale

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