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Boundary Dam integrated CCS project

Yellow Marker Boundary Dam integrated CCS project

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Capture Method:
Capture Technology:
Capital cost:
$600 million (canadian $)
1 million tonnes
50.2823194501 -104.447021484


Main developer: SaskPower

Country: Canada

Project type: Capture

Scale: Large

Status: Operative

Capital cost: $600 million (canadian $)

Year of operation 2014

Industry: Coal Power Plant

MW capacity: 120

Capture method: Post-combustion

Capture technology: Amine

New or retrofit: Retrofit

Transport of CO2 by: Pipeline

Type of storage: EOR

Volume: 1 million tonnes/CO2


This is the first commercial-scale project in the world combining post-combustion CCS with coal-fired power generation.

Incredibly, this Canadian project went from concept stage to start-up in just five years. With other CCS projects in Norway and elsewhere either cancelled or still on the starting blocks, there is clearly much to learn from SaskPower’s project. As the company have themselves during the first year of operation. First of a kind projects must learn by experience from large scale operations.  Boundary Dam has achieved an 80% capture rate in the early operations, however the rate has fluctuated over the course of the year. Since the launch October 2014, SaskPower has experienced various problems with a number of sub-systems within the process and has worked to deveop solutions and to fix them. 

To date (Nov 2015) the project has captured and sold approximately 400 000 tonnes of CO2. Work is underway to increase the amount CO2, as per the original specifications. 


The success of such an ambitious project is about more than getting the technology right – the economics must add up, and regulatory hurdles untested by this new technology must be cleared.  Stakeholder engagement – in particular, gaining the trust and support of governments and local communities – is also crucial. All of this is important for both the Boundary Dam CCS project and other CCS projects worldwide. 

SaskPower must overcome technology challenges and deliver, to also meet their promised budget and contractual issues. The company has said that they have learnt a lot during the first year of operation which will make it possible to meet their demands for the next years.

We need excisting full scale CCS projects as examples more than ever – to demonstrate the technology, promote awareness of its potential, overcome hurdles and inspire other projects which continue to face challenges in getting started. 

Mitigating CO2 emissions from coal

The retrofitted capture plant captures 1 million tonnes per year of CO2 - or 95% - from one of Boundary Dam’s aging combustion units, which has a generating capacity of around 130MW. That’s equivalent to taking more than 400,000 cars off Norwegian roads annually.
The total amount of CO2 produced, for all generating units at Boundary Dam Power station, is 5.5 to 6 million tonnes annually.

This $1,24 billion (of which 600 million is for CCS and the rest is for modernizing the plant) integrated carbon capture & storage project has retrofitted SaskPower's coal-fired Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan with a carbon capture system. Captured CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery and stored in deep saline aquifers.

The provincial government approved the proposals in April 2011, which cleared the way for construction to begin immediately. The capture facility opened October 2014, after a test period.

The majority of the captured gas is sold to operator Cenovus for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at its Weyburn oilfield. Cenovus has set up injection wells and built a 40 mile-long pipeline connecting Weyburn with Boundary Dam. 

The venture is a partnership between the Canadian government, the province of Saskatchewan and facility owner SaskPower. Saskatchewan has a 300-year supply of coal and is keen to fast-track the development of CCS technologies. Technology Research Center (PTRC) has had a deal to store CO2 from the facility's hot test at PTRC's Aquistore CO2 storage project.


SNC Lavalin and Cansolv Technologies Limited - a subsidiary of Shell - were selected in March 2010 to oversee EPC activities. Cansolv is testing its own pioneering amine-based carbon capture process (CANSOLV), while SNC Lavelin was  the general building contractors. Hitachi is supplied a state-of-the-art steam turbine designed to integrate a coal-fired power plant with carbon capture technology.

In late 2010, SaskPower gave a clear commitment to the project with its decision to rebuild the Unit 3 boiler at Boundary Dam. In January 2011, Babcock & Wilcox were contracted to carry out the work, which will extend its lifespan by 30 years and ensure it can operate with the planned state-of-the-art carbon capture system.

In July 2011, SaskPower placed a $30 million contract with Stantec for engineering consultancy during the design and construction of the system. The engineering firm has established its CCS Centre of Excellence in nearby Regina as a result of its involvement in the project.

A $5.2 million, pre-commercial-scale chemical absorption technology demonstration pilot plant has already been operating at Boundary Dam as part of the International Test Centre for CO2 Capture. The pilot was run by the University of Regina who leased the equipment from SaskPower. The University operated the facility, did the research, and owned it. In the summer of 2012, this facility was shut-down.

In December 2012, SaskPower announced that a deal had been reached with Cenovus for purchase of Boundary Dam CO2. In addition to CO2, there are opportunities for the sale of other byproducts from the Project. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is captured, converted to sulphuric acid and sold for industrial use. Fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, are also sold for use in ready-mix concrete, pre-cast structures and concrete products.

In October 2013, SaskPower signed an agreement with the Japanese firm Chugai Technos to deliver a monitoring system for the storage part. The system measures CO2 in the ground and provides a ground leakage monitoring system. There were also reports that the projects was running CAD 115 million over budget, but it is important to note that this was for renovating the existing plant and not the CCS project itself.

SaskPower aims to use the results of this project to decide on using CCS at its other coal-fired power plants, as well as share its experience with other CCS developers worldwide, through a knowledge-sharing consortium – the SaskPower CCS Global Consortium.

In April 2014, SaskPower signed an agreement with the Swedish power company Vattenfall. This is not a financial agreement, but the companies will be sharing technical information and expertise and keeping each other abreast of any new developments they find around the health, safety, and environmental impacts of the technology.

In April 2014 SaskPower began their testing of the capture facility.


The Canadian government has invested $240 million in the $1.24 billion demonstration project, with the remainder coming from SaskPower, which made a final investment decision in April 2011. Most of the captured CO2 is sold to Cenovus for EOR operations at the Weyburn oilfield.

Montana, Saskatchewan and Canadian government: development partners


The project has been built in five years. The provincial government approved the proposals in April 2011, clearing the way for construction to begin immediately. A hot test of the facility has been taking place since April 2014, with full operations in October 2014.
In September 2012, it was reported that the capture unit was two thirds complete, and was expected to be finished by March 2014. SaskPower reported some delays in early 2014, and full operations was expected to commence in summer or fall 2014.

Carbon Capture Test Facility
SaskPower and Hitachi teamed up in March 2012 to construct a $60 million carbon capture test facility at SaskPower’s Shand Power Station in southeastern Saskatchewan. Each was to contribute about $30 million to the facility, with SaskPower acting as owner/operator. Construction will begin in 2013, with a scheduled completion date of summer 2014. Hitachi’s proprietary amine technology will be the first technology tested with other developers to follow in 2014. Note: This  faclility is placed at Shand. It is a test project, and not a full scale project, like the Boundary Dam CCS project


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, with another test round in April 2014.

The plant started operation in October 2014.

Low cost:

The CCS plant had 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 at 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 400 000 Norwegian cars annually.

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

This is equal to the projected amount at the now shelved fullscale CCS project at Mongstad.


The post combustion technology is the same technology originally planned for Mongstad.


More information and press releases

SaskPower signs carbon capture deal with European company, April 9, 2014

SaskPower CEO says ICCS project $115M over budget, October 23, 2013

Saskatchewan and Japanese firm reach agreement on carbon capture, October 1, 2013

Joint research programme between UKCCSRC and SaskPower, May 2013

Giant ductwork installed at Boundary Dam, 29 January 2013

BD's Unit 3 turbine soon to be replaced with Hitachi 160MW turbine, 16 January 2013

SaskPower and Cenovus sign deal for Boundary Dam CO2, 19 December 2012

Project progress, GHG Monitor, 7 September 2012

Carbon Capture Journal feature on CANSOLV technology, 8 July 2012

Energy Digital article on progress at Boundary Dam, 13 June 2012

Hitachi and SaskPower to develop test facility, SaskPower PR, 20 March 2012

Stantec's centre of excellence, Vancouver Sun, 19 July 2011

SaskPower press release, 13 July 2011

Government of Saskatchewan press release, 26 April 2011

SaskPower press release, 14 January 2011

SaskPower invests in Boundary Dam, 10 December 2010

Saskatchewan Government press release, 3 March 2010

Saskpower project information sheet


Captured CO2 from the Boundary Dam facility will be stored just two kilometres away as part of the Petroleum Research Centre's (PTCR) Aquistore project - which aims to demonstrate safe long-term storage of CO2, three kilometres underground in a saline reservoir. Aquistore builds on knowledge developed through PTRC’s ten-year management of the IEA GHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project.
The majority of the captured gas is sold to operator Cenovus for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at its Weyburn oilfield. Cenovus has set up injection wells and built a 40 mile-long pipeline connecting Weyburn with Boundary Dam.

Contact info

Main developer: SaskPower

Companies involved

News about Boundary Dam integrated CCS project