SaskPower has chosen SNC Lavalin-Cansolv to provide the carbon dioxide capture system for the Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Sequestration Demonstration Project.

SNC Lavalin-Cansolv’s proposal was selected after a “rigorous evaluation” of three proposals shortlisted by SaskPower in February 2009. Powerspan and Fluor were the two other candidate capture technology providers. The evaluation was undertaken by SaskPower and an independent consultant, Stantec Engineering. “SaskPower determined that SNC Lavalin-Cansolv was best able to deliver a carbon capture system with the lowest cost and acceptable risk, on time and on budget,” Minister responsible for the utility, Bill Boyd, said.

Should it proceed, says SaskPower, the CCS project, in which the Canadian government is investing $240 million, would “transform an aging unit at Boundary Dam into a reliable, long-term producer of 115 MW of clean baseload electricity, while enhancing provincial oil production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

SaskPower will make a final decision on whether to proceed with the Boundary Dam CCS project later this year. “There remains important work to do in the areas of finalising project cost estimates, securing customers for the captured CO2, and making an assessment of the timing and extent of CO2 emissions regulations,” says the utility.

Cansolv, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell, is the capture technology provider. Its process uses regenerable amines to selectively absorb both SO2 and CO2 from gas streams. If the project proceeds, this technology would be used to meet two requirements of the demonstration facility – the capture of both carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. A key aspect of the Cansolv system is the recovery of waste energy between the two processes, reducing operating costs.

Plans call for the captured carbon dioxide captured to be sold for enhanced oil recovery. The system also has the potential to produce a another marketable byproduct – sulphuric acid.

“The Cansolv system would enable SaskPower to produce more electricity at Boundary Dam’s unit 3 than first projected when the project was conceived, and at a lower cost,” SaskPower Integrated Carbon Capture & Sequestration vice-president Mike Monea said. “The original estimate for power production was 100 megawatts, but this has now risen to 115 megawatts.”

SNC Lavalin-Cansolv will be paid for work completed if the project does not proceed.

Surprisingly, there was no proposal from the “local” capture technology provider, Saskatchewan-based HTC Purenergy, which describes itself as “Canada’s national champion of carbon capture & storage technology,” and is already involved in a pilot project at Boundary Dam.

HTC Purenergy can nevertheless point to the fact that it was selected recently (jointly with Doosan Babcock) as the capture technology provider for what has been billed as the “world’s largest CCS plant”, the 120 MW class facility proposed for Basin Electric’s Antelope Valley coal fired plant in Beulah, North Dakota, USA.