Construction is to start immediately on a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration facility in Canada after the government of Saskatchewan gave final approval for the project.

The Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration project will transform Unit 3 at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power plant into clean coal facility generating energy as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in enhanced oil recovery operations.

The C$1.24 billion project is scheduled to start operations in 2014 and will be among the world’s first commercial-scale CCS demonstrations. It will put the Canadian province of Saskatchewan at the forefront of technology innovation, says its government.

“SaskPower and its private-sector partners are leading the world in the development of a technology that will help to address climate change while ensuring that we can continue to use coal as an energy source for many years to come,” Minister responsible for SaskPower Rob Norris said.

The new generating unit at the Boundary Dam plant will have a capacity of 110 MW. SaskPower has chosen SNC Lavalin to oversee detailed engineering, procurement and construction activities at the project.

Cansolv, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell Global Solutions, will supply the carbon capture process. Hitachi will supply a state-of-the-art steam turbine – the first in the world designed to fully integrate a coal-fired power plant with carbon capture technology.

In addition to capturing CO2 for enhanced oil recovery operations, the Boundary Dam project will capture sulphur dioxide (SO2) to be used in the production of sulphuric acid.

The Boundary Dam power station is SaskPower’s largest generating facility, with six units and a combined generating capacity of 824 MW. The company’s three coal-fired power plants account for approximately 50 per cent of its generating capacity of 3513 MW.

SaskPower has a total available generating capacity of 3982 MW when the production of independent power producers is taken into account.