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article imageSaskatchewan: Green technology for Canada

By Tim Sandle     Oct 5, 2014 in Environment
Estevan - Canada's prairie province of Saskatchewan is starting to attract worldwide attention. On October 2, an ageing coal-fired power plant was re-activated after being retrofitted to capture one million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
The province's Crown corporation SaskPower has been outfitting its Boundary Dam power plant, near Estevan, with advanced technology designed for carbon capture and storage. The technology cost $1.3 billion and the money was largely provided by the Canadian government.
The idea is to show that it remains feasible for conventional power plants to use coal as a fuel in the generation of electricity and to minimize the carbon impact to the environment.
According to CBC News, the project collects carbon dioxide gas that is emitted as coal is burned in a power plant. The gas is then compressed to liquid form. Through this process, The Guardian reports, the Boundary Dam power plant promises to cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 90 percent. Through this, the project could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 million tons a year (which is the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road).
SaskPower aims to sell the liquefied carbon dioxide to the oil industry. In addition, research is underway to determine if the collected carbon dioxide can be injected into natural underground storage caverns. Moreover, TCE Today notes that processes will also capture sulfur dioxide, with the intention to convert this to sulphuric acid and use it in industrial processes. An additional byproduct of coal combustion, fly ash, will also be collected and sold for use in concrete goods.
Commenting on the initiative, Maria van der Hoeven at the International Energy Agency is quoted by The Economist as saying that the project is an "historic milestone on the path to a low-carbon future" and that "the technology is no longer science fiction."
Canadians expecting cheaper power will, however, be disappointed. According to the Ottawa Sun, savings will be ploughed back into new projects.
More about Saskatchewan, Power station, Coal, Carbon
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