COLUMN-Beyond Boundary Dam, carbon capture costs must come down: Kemp

Thu Oct 2, 2014 1:31pm EDT
 
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(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

LONDON Oct 2 (Reuters) - In a milestone for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) movement, SaskPower's Boundary Dam power plant began making pipeline deliveries of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) on Wednesday.

Boundary Dam Unit #3 is the first grid-scale coal-fired power plant in the world to be retrofitted with a CCS system. (www.saskpowerccs.com)

It marks an important step forward for a technology that policymakers have identified as essential to meeting climate change targets but which has so far remained mostly theoretical.

"CCS is the only known technology that will enable us to continue to use fossil fuels and also de-carbonise the energy sector," the chief of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement hailing the launch.

Capture systems have already been deployed at three industrial plants in the United States that produce hydrogen and fertiliser, as well as at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, a lignite gasification facility just a few miles south of Boundary Dam in North Dakota. (www.dakotagas.com/)

But these projects produce relatively concentrated streams of carbon dioxide (CO2), which are easier and less expensive to capture.

By contrast, power plants such as Boundary Dam produce more diluted carbon dioxide emissions, which are correspondingly more expensive to process.   Continued...