BHP joins Canadian carbon capture venture

A new partnership between BHP Billiton and a Canadian electricity provider will see the implementation of a world first full chain power carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

Saskatchawan-based SaskPower signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the international miner which will see investment by BHP in a global knowledge centre to enable the promotion of research, sharing of new technology, and reduction of costs and risk associated with new CCS projects.

Saskpower’s Boundary Dam, a 120 megawatt facility, was launched in 2014 as the world’s first post combustion, coal-fired CCS project, capable of capturing a million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and reducing sulphur dioxide from the coal process by 100 per cent.

The Candadian power generator also has a second CCS facility, the Shand Carbon Capture Test Facility, where research is done to further develop the technology.

BHP chief commercial officer Dean Dalla Valle said that progress had been too slow in the development of CCS technology.

“To respond effectively to climate change, we must develop and deploy a wide range of low emissions technologies more quickly than the usual commercial timeframes,” he said.

“The individual components of CCS (capture, transport and storage) have been successfully demonstrated for many years but Boundary Dam is the first power project to bring all these together.

“Much more investment and many more projects are needed to bring down the cost of technology and accelerate its deployment.

“By making relevant information from Boundary Dam more widely available, we hope our contribution has a multiplier effect and promotes CCS investment around the world.

“We continue to assess other investments to support the development of CCS and other low emissions technology as part of our commitment to take action on climate change.”

BHP Canada president Giles Hellyer said he was proud that the company had sought to partner with a local Saskatchawan company to further strengthen their climate change position.

“As the home of our Jansen Potash project, we have a strong connection with and commitment to Saskatchewan and it’s great to see some of the innovative work being done in the region recognised globally as part of such an important effort to reduce the world’s emissions,” Hellyer said.

“This partnership demonstrates the strength of the work being undertaken by SaskPower at the Boundary Dam facility, the support offered by the Saskatchewan Government and BHP Billiton’s commitment to tackling climate change.

“We know there is still much more to be done in CCS, but we are encouraged by the results we are seeing today, and the innovations we are working on for tomorrow.

“The Boundary Dam project offers lessons for all of us and we look forward to being part of it.”

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