SaskPower’s carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station had a great year in 2018, according to their vice president of power production, Howard Matthews.
The facility captured 625,996 tonnes of carbon dioxide during the year, despite being offline for 84 days due to a June storm and another 285 hours on two separate occasions for boiler leaks and 87 hours following the province-wide power outage Dec. 4.
“Excepting the storm-related incident that did so much damage in Estevan and area, and of course the plant itself, if we take that out of the equation, the CCS facility was operational 94 per cent of the time.” said Matthews. “I wish all our facilities were available 94 per cent of the time. We’d be quite pleased with that.”
The BD3 facility exceeded its targets for the year when it came to capturing 2,505 tonnes per day, which is greater than the 2,435 target that was set.
SaskPower is looking into mitigating some of the impact that storms like June’s blast will have on the facility and it’s ability to capture carbon.
“There was certainly lots of damage inside the plant and we’ve done quite a bit of work in terms of what could we do in the future,” he said. “Can we do anything else to harden our facilities around these once in a lifetime storm events like this. That’s ongoing work here with our engineering group and really trying to understand what’s possible for future modifications, if you will.”
It was such an unusual storm event at the plant, Matthews said.
Now, the focus will be on getting that carbon capture and storage facility to run as economically as possible.
“We’ve really been on a pathway forward, and we have to remind people this is the world’s first of integrated carbon capture facility,” Matthews said.
In its first years, they had to learn how to make the technology work and make sure it was reliable.
“That’s where we’re seeing the payoff here with this 94 per cent availability out of our facility last year,” said Matthews. “Truly a good performance from any facility and certainly our CCS facility.”
In total, the facility has taken out 2,465,333 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to taking 616,333 cars off of Saskatchewan roads.
Any decision on future CCS projects will have to include and identify the lowest capital costs possible.
“Our job now is to make sure we run this facility and get that cost down as low as we can,” said Matthews. “And you combine the two of lower capital cost and lower operating cost and that gives the decision makers the best information at the time to make that decision.”