♻️ Carbon Capture Is Hard. This Plant Shows Why.
Only one commercial power plant in North America is currently operating with carbon capture. Its experience hasn’t been as smooth—or climate-friendly—as proponents of the rules might hope. That plant, the Boundary Dam Power Station Unit 3 in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, turns locally mined coal into enough electricity for 100,000 homes.
The unit is designed to operate until 2044, but Boundary Dam’s owner, SaskPower, says the benefits of operating a coal-fired power unit using carbon-capture technology are becoming less apparent. “Utility operators in the United States will be in the same boat as we are,” said Rupen Pandya, president and chief executive of SaskPower.
Mr. Duffy said retrofitting an existing commercial-scale 300-megawatt natural-gas plant with carbon capture would cost $372 million, while retrofitting a similar-size coal plant would cost $600 million, based on recent estimates from the Energy Department. For new plants the cost would be about 10% less, he said.
The only commercial-scale power plant in the U.S. using carbon capture—the Petra Nova coal-fired plant in Texas—closed its $1 billion carbon-capture unit in 2020 after three years.
Installing point source carbon capture on industrial sites
A lack of available physical space and the high costs have both been barriers to widespread deployment of carbon capture systems. However, one original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is focused on overcoming these barriers. Carbon Clean is a carbon capture solutions company headquartered in the UK that provides cost-effective carbon capture technologies for hard-to-abate industries such as cement, steel, energy from waste and refineries. Projects include working with CEMEX, a global leader in the building materials industry, on deploying CycloneCC at its cement plant in Victorville, California and Rüdersdorf plant in Germany. Carbon Clean is also seeking to develop a pilot using CycloneCC with Chevron on a gas turbine in San Joaquin Valley, Calif.
Cemvita Factory is an OEM that specializes in the biological conversion of CO2 into value-added products. Cemvita, which is based in Houston, focuses on offering “microbes-as-a-service” to potential clients who are interested in upgrading their CO2 into useful products. One notable Cemvita Factory project is their partnership with Oxy to convert 1.7 million tons per year of captured CO2 (from a cogeneration power plant) into 1 billion pounds per year of bioethylene.