A commercial coal-fired plant has shown the potential of a technology that will help save the planet. Boundary Dam, a power plant in Estevan Saskatchewan, earned the distinction as the first commercial coal fired power station that has a technology that can capture carbon dioxide from its emissions.
After capturing the greenhouse gases, the plant has a system that can compress the gas, and then finally bury it underground. In so doing, the facility proves beyond doubt that so-called carbon capture and storage (CCS) is viable in a large scale operation.
This is an important achievement considering that CCS could be a significant remedy that can actually reduce the greenhouse emissions in the planet that greatly exacerbates climate change.
There are only two other CCS facilities that are currently under construction, both of which are located in the United States. The high price tag limits the number of CCS plants that can be constructed.
For instance SaskPower has to invest $1 billion so that one of its four generators at the Boundary Dam can be equipped with this carbon capture technology. And more importantly, with the integration of carbon capture, the plant’s electricity output was reduced by 20 per cent to just about 160 megawatt.
That means it will cost SaskPower 12 cents more per kilowatt-hour to run CCS than what it gets from selling the electricity it produces.
But the company makes up for this slack by selling much of the captured carbon dioxide to Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil producer. This company uses the residual material to increase its output from its nearby maturing oil wells.
Advocates of the CCS say that it will get cheaper over time. In fact, the IPCC or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was convened by the United Nations estimates that economies of scale plus additional technology upgrades will cut the price of integrating CCS to coal plants to only one-third of what was spent at Boundary Dam.
If this proves to be true, a coal plant that is equipped with CCS could supply electricity cheaper than other low-carbon power plants, including large solar farms and offshore wind farms.
With the lessons that it learned from its first attempt at CCS integration, SaskPower says that it is now able to build another CCS project for $200 million less than what it spent the first time.
SaskPower also hinted that it may install CCS in two of its aging coal generators at Boundary Dam. The company will also endeavour to help other power plants to develop expertise in this new technology.
video credit: SaskPower CCS
To keep global warming below 2 °C, the United Nations climate panel hopes that similar technology will be installed at all 7,000 existing coal fired power stations around the world by 2050. This is the threshold that U.N. uses for avoiding severe climate change.
However, new coal plants are still being built, most notably in China and India. It is estimated that one-quarter of the world’s energy supply in 2040 will still be supplied by coal plants.Watch Froning The Fittest Man In History (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
With the CCS that SaskPower is using, these coal plants now have the proof that this technology is feasible and safe in reducing greenhouse gases and saving the planet from the devastation caused by carbon emissions.