SaskPower, the Saskatchewan provincial utility that made history last year by developing the first full-scale post-combustion carbon capture retrofit for an operating coal-fired power plant, has taken the next step in fostering development of the technology. Its Carbon Capture Test Facility (CCTF) has officially been launched in Estevan, Saskatchewan.

The June 18 launch was attended by representatives from approximately 20 countries that are part of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, a global group of policy-makers who meet biannually to discuss CCS potential around the world.

‟SaskPower can now offer access to this unique facility for companies to develop and test carbon capture and storage technologies,” said Premier Brad Wall. ‟This will continue to bring international interest to Saskatchewan and give us prime access to the next generation of CCS innovation.”

Built in partnership with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd., the CCTF is a high-tech laboratory that uses a small amount of exhaust (flue) gas from the neighboring Shand Power Station and allows researchers to test equipment, chemical innovation, or engineering designs in a highly controlled environment.

“We need a mix of sources to meet the ever-growing demand for power, and in a way that balances affordability, reliability and sustainability,” said SaskPower President and CEO Mike Marsh. ‟Carbon capture and storage is part of that mix. SaskPower is a pioneer in this technology, and we benefit from working with world technical leaders in this new facility to stay on the cusp of new and efficient CCS developments.”

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. will be the CCTF’s first client. ‟We’re pleased to be working with SaskPower on this initiative”, said Yasuo Fujitani, Senior Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. ‟We will be using our time in the CCTF to test our new amine solution.” Amine is the chemical solvent at the core of many CCS processes, such as the one currently operating at Boundary Dam Power Station.

The CCTF is a modular facility, where many individual parts can be isolated, modified, and operated to test specific carbon capture technologies. Companies will be able to track how their particular technology performs over time and in response to realistic commercial operating conditions.

Gail Reitenbach, PhD, editor (@GailReit, @POWERmagazine)