A much watched effort by Canadian to capture carbon dioxide from a coal-burning generation plant has run into difficulties, the New York Times reports.
SaskPower’s Boundary Dam has had several shutdowns and failed to achieve it emission cut targets.
The project was one of the largest in the world attempting to remove carbon dioxide from the coal burning process, then compress the gas and route it to underground storage.
According to the Times report, “the system was working at only 45 percent of capacity. One memo, written a month after the government publicly boasted about the project, cited eight major problem areas. Fixing them, it said, could take a year and a half, and the memo warned that it was not immediately apparent how to resolve some problems.”
Other efforts at carbon capture and storage have floundered at a time of declining costs for renewables and energy efficiency technologies and abundant supplies of cheap natural gas.
European energy company, Vattenfall, in 2014 discontinued it carbon capture research tied to a gleaming research plant it built in East Germany.
IEEE Spectrum, writing about the Vattenfall decision to nix carbon capture, reported, “Even in the European Union, which has decarbonization policies, it has yet to become a commercial-scale, affordable option to keep older coal plants operating while producing fewer emissions."