The day has finally arrived.
The eagerly anticipated launching of the refurbished Boundary Dam, Unit 3, complete with its carbon dioxide capture island, is set for an official christening tomorrow.
The capture unit will not only trap and recycle CO2, but other noxious gases as well, giving the world its first commercial-sized clean coal power generating plant. The third unit at Boundary will be producing more than 110 megawatts of electrical power with the CO2 capture unit attached.
Having taken more than six years from idea to conception, design and build stages, the final touches have now been applied and the test runs are over.
The project has received worldwide attention as BD3 offers the first genuine carbon dioxide post combustion capture process that will take the gas and store it underground in a nearby 3.4 kilometre deep storage site. The gas will then be released, as required, to serve as an enhanced oil recovery agent in the nearby oilfields. Cenovus and SaskPower have signed a 10-year deal that will see the oil production company purchase as much as one million tonnes of CO2 yearly.
The BD3 project, the largest ever undertaken by SaskPower, was originally tabbed with a $1.24 billion price tag. In late 2013, it was announced that it would cost about $115 million more than that. Subsequent brief delays in the official start-up date may have added a bit more to that total, but company officials assured media and others that the technology and processes were on-line and on-target.
Another byproduct of this event, along with the Aquistore storage site and technology, will be a $60 million carbon capture test facility attached to the nearby Shand Power Station. The cost for this project has been shared 50-50 between the provincial Crown corporation and Hitachi. The test site will give companies and national agencies an opportunity to test various noxious gas capture systems using other technologies than those deployed at Boundary Dam, while still using coal as the basic fuel source.
A number of international visitors have accepted invitations for an on-site event tomorrow including politicians, SaskPower officials, researchers and scientists as well as media and representatives from SNC Lavalin, the lead contractor in the project.
So far the guest list of about 350 includes representatives from Norway, Netherlands, Australia, France, China, South Korea and Japan, to name a few.
A two-day symposium in Regina dealing with carbon capture precedes the official launch at Boundary Dam.