SaskPower's claims that it has met carbon capture goals shouldn’t be taken at face value.
These have been tough times for advocates of capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced in coal-fired power plants.
Last May, the hyped Petra Nova project near Houston was indefinitely mothballed because low oil prices made using the captured CO2for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) uneconomical. The fact that the project’s operating performance was nowhere near expectations—90% carbon capture rate and an 85% capacity factor—was almost overlooked by the owners and in the coverage of Petra Nova’s demise.
That has left Boundary Dam 3 in Canada as the only project capturing CO2from a coal plant. On March 31, SaskPower (Boundary Dam 3’s owner) noted that the project had captured a total of 4 million metric tons of CO2and claimed this was “another milestone to be proud of.”
The carbon capture facility at Boundary Dam was designed to capture 3,200 metric tons of CO2daily, or slightly more than 1 million metric tons annually. It has barely achieved that goal on any single day and has never done so over any extended period.