Boundary Dam’s No. 3 power generating unit and carbon dioxide collection system operated as expected throughout the month of January. That made it two consecutive months in which the unit, which has come up for criticism for it’s past performances, has met or exceeded expectations.
“In some months routine maintenance and inspection is planned and in other months, such as January, the facility can be operated nearly 100 per cent of the time. Over a year, we expect the facility to be up and running approximately 85 per cent of the time,” said SaskPower in a report filed in early February.
Unit 3, which contains the carbon dioxide capture system that also captures other noxious gases, turning them into value-added products, worked at more than 99 per cent online achievement rates in the past month.
“It allowed us to capture and sequester a record 84,976 tonnes of carbon dioxide. We continue to target the capture of 800,000 tonnes this year,” said the SaskPower report.
There was one small challenge on the power production side of the system during the last week of the month, when sediment accumulation in the No. 3 boiler, also known as slagging, caused some temporary challenges. The problem is caused by the lower quality of coal that is used on occasion and is a common situation for all the coal-fired units. The sediment collection was removed quickly and without incident.
“In the coming months, we will continue to commission the acid plant on site in order to convert captured sulphur dioxide into salable sulphuric acid. That process should come online this spring,” said SaskPower in the release.
The carbon capture facility was taken offline for about five days earlier this month following seven weeks of continual production (since mid-December). The downtime was a planned event to enable inspection and cleaning of the various sub-systems in the facility before resuming operations mid-month.