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Boundary Dam – Just Do It!

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SaskPower visited Oslo this week to share their experiences from building the CCS project Boundary Dam, which was built faster and is less expensive than the Norwegian Mongstad project.

Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demostration Project is being built by SaskPower in Saskatchewan in Canada. According to SaskPower’s Max Ball the project is 99% done and ready to operate. The plant is being built on an existing coal power plant and uses the same CCS technology that was planned for Mongstad.

Predictable framework

During their visit to Oslo this week the delegation from SaskPower stressed that the decision to invest in full-scale CCS plant was not idealistic. The project was initiated because the Canadian authorities adopted a new pollution standard. The new standard will take effect in July 2015. Power plants that do not follow the standard will have to shut down, with a few exceptions, in the transitional phase. It is impossible for coal power plants to meet this standard without cleaning the CO2. Long-term goals from the government and the possibility to get financial support were two of the reasons why SaskPower’s CCs project could be realized. The Boundary Dam CCS Project has received 20% subsidies from national and local authorities.

SaskPower is planning to build a second-generation full-scale plant. They assume that this will be 20% less expensive than the first plant. This means that they can build the first completely commercial plant in the world.

According to SaskPower, one should not compare full-scale and test plants when working with CCS. Each is good on its own, but we need both to learn and use the technology in an efficient manner.

Just do it

SaskPower has always been a company unafraid of going all out. – We have focused on doing, starting and building. It is incorporated in the way our company is organized, says Max Ball. - SaskPower has a long tradition for choosing its own path when it comes to technological choices, and carefully weighing making completely informed and adequately informed decisions.

SaskPower’s moon landing – within the budget

SaskPower’s CCS work started during the 90’s. They considered several different scenarios, both on existing power plants and building a new coal power plant where they would use oxyfuel for cleaning.

Building a new power plant is more expensive than upgrading an existing power plant. This, and the fact that the oxyfuel technology was not as well tested as the amine technology, made SaskPower decide to cancel the project in 2006/2007. They decided to go for carbon cleaning on one of their existing coal power plants, Boundary Dam.

The cost of upgrading the existing coal power plant and building the CCS plant is about CAD 1,2 billion. The CCS plant costs about CAD 600 million. SaskPower has built a CCS plant, which will capture 1 million tonnes of CO2 for 600 millions in three years. SaskPower has experienced some cost increases while remodeling the power plant, but the carbon capture part has been built for less that projected. The Boundary Dam CCS project is a good example of how one can complete full-scale projects.

The story of SaskPower’s success tells a story about political frameworks being the key to implementing CCS. The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tord Lien, should use the experiences from Canada when he lays out the strategy for how Norway can contribute to the realization of a full-scale CCS plant within 2020.



How did SaskPower do it?

Record speed:

The decision to invest was made in April 2011.

The building started a month later.

Testing started fall 2013.

The plant will be operational in early 2014.

Low cost:

The CCS plant has an estimated cost of 600 million Canadian dollars.

The Mongstad plant was estimated to cost between 3 and 4 billion US dollars.

The decision to build was based on profitability.

Criteria for success:

Chose the right technology on an early stage.

Tight project management.

The demand for profitability led to a strong focus on keeping the costs low.

National and local policymakers use the law to reduce CO2 emissions:

The new emission standards in Canada and Saskatchewan are stricter than before.

The project was a result of Canadian laws that limit emissions.

Coal power plants in Saskatchewan will have to close within 10-20 years if they do not comply with the new regulations.

Essential numbers:

The CCS plant will clean 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which equals the emissions from 250 000 cars annually.

This means that 90-95% of the turbine emission will be cleaned.

This is equal to the projected amount at Mongstad.


The post combustion technology is the same technology they used at Mongstad.



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