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CCS facility online 96 per cent of the time in the past three months

Facility captured nearly 73,000 tonnes of CO2 a month in the second quarter.
Boundary Dam exterior pic
The CCS facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station is back online.

ESTEVAN - SaskPower has tinkered with the way in which it reports performance for the carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station, and their numbers show the facility was still highly productive the past three months.

In the past, SaskPower has issued reports on a monthly basis. But now the reports are issued on a quarterly basis.

“Throughout the facility’s existence SaskPower has maintained its commitment to transparent and timely public communications regarding its operation via the monthly BD3 blog,” SaskPower said in a news release.

The last of the monthly reports was issued for May.

Results from the second quarter of 2022 (April 1-June 30) showed CCS was available 96 per cent of the time. By comparison, in the first quarter of the year, CCS was online for approximately 50 per cent of the time.

The goal is to have the CCS facility available 75 per cent of the time. 

The CCS facility captured 218,537 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the second quarter, or nearly 73,000 tonnes of CO2 per month.

A total of 336,358 tonnes of CO2 were captured in the first six months of this year, and nearly 4.59 million tonnes have been kept from entering the Earth’s atmosphere since CCS went online in October 2014.

SaskPower also now provides statistics about the availability and output of the acid plant at CCS. The acid plant converts sulfur dioxide (SO2) captured during the CCS process into sulphuric acid through a catalyst process. When operational, the acid plant can produce up to 60 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid. 

SaskPower uses this acid for its own industrial purposes and sells it to private companies. Sulphuric acid is used in many applications ranging from water treatment to the production of fertilizers.

The acid plant was available 55 per cent of the time in the second quarter, and produced 1,167 tonnes of sulphuric acid. 

The blog also now reports the emissions intensity of Boundary Dam Unit 3/CCS. Emissions intensity is the volume of CO2 emitted from BD3 for every gigawatt of electricity generated each hour (t CO2e/GWh). SaskPower says this metric is significant for operations because the federal carbon tax threshold is currently set at 594 t CO2e/GWh, meaning any emissions above that mark are subject to the carbon tax. 

Emissions below this threshold reduce the overall carbon tax for the Boundary Dam Power Station. For reference, during the second quarter, BD3/CCS had an emissions intensity of 382 t CO2e/GWh, and the approximate emissions intensity of a conventional coal unit is 1,100 t CO2/ GWh. 

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