SaskPower has received yet another recognition for its efforts to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in the changing power generation landscape.
The Boundary Dam Power Station’s integrated CCS project has won Power Magazine’s Power Plant of the Year Award. The CCS project opened to much fanfare late last year, with delegates from 20 countries in attendance, and has scooped up a number of awards since then.
Two months after the pilot plant opened, it was named the Project of the Year in the Coal Fired Project category from Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World Magazines. And just two months ago, it won the Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award, the international electric industry’s top award.
The project has also been recognized by National Geographic as one of 10 energy breakthroughs in 2014.
Mike Monea, SaskPower’s president of carbon capture and storage initiatives, said he believes Boundary Dam was recognized by Power Magazine because it has received global attention with its engineering and “first of its kind” status.
“About two months ago, we were told that we were selected (for the Power Magazine award), and we were pretty pumped about it, actually,” Monea told the Mercury.
There have been challenges for SaskPower since the CCS facility opened last year. They’re still working through some repairs.
“A lot of it’s piping and valving,” Monea said. “It looks like a submarine inside (the capture island). It’s just huge recycling tubing and piping that runs through the whole plant.”
A planned shutdown will happen in September.
“We’re just making constant improvements on the whole facility,” said Monea. “We’re pretty pleased with where things are going, but there needs to be some ongoing improvements.
“When you build something for the first time, some of our contractors don’t get it right the first time, because they’ve never done it. Everybody’s trying to get the newest improvement that works together with the next piece of equipment, so it’s all coming together.”
Once the September shutdown is finished, they will see what happens when the plant starts up again. Monea anticipates it will be in “great working order” at that time.
He hopes SaskPower can soon shift its attention to Units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam. Monea said they are now into the business case for the project, and from there, it will be up to SaskPower’s president and board of directors, along with the provincial government, to make a decision.
As different teams finish their work at Unit 4, they’ll be pulled off and then start to work on the new design of Units 4 and 5. They will also study the basic economics for the plant.
“In one year, I hope we will be in a good position to make recommendations to our planning section at SaskPower, and then our planning group wraps the whole overall corporate economics into our recommendations,” said Monea. “We really have to know by 2018. So we have a little bit of time to do a lot of detailed work here.”
Monea said they haven’t been able to start into the detailed planning of Units 4 and 5, but on a per unit basis, it will be smaller and have a smaller footprint. Unit 3 has an output of 161 megawatts; though the combined output for Units 4 and 5 will be higher than 161 megawatts, Monea said the average output per unit will be lower.
“We believe that carbon capture and storage will have and play a significant role at SaskPower,” said Monea. “It’s just I’m not sure what that will look like for Units 4 and 5 yet. That’s what we have to look at for the next year.”