GHG Burying Coal Plants

GHG Burying Coal Plants

Burning coal has been an economically efficient way to produce electricity for decades. A relatively large source of the fossil fuel exists and can be burned to produce a relatively cheap source of electricity. However, in recent times, a major controversy facing the industry is the vast amount of greenhouse gases that are produced as a byproduct. These greenhouse gases are made up of carbon emissions and other gases that are said to be the leading contributors to rising global temperatures. With the need for change in the coal industry becoming critical, this week we’re looking into the technology behind a coal plant that collects and buries its own carbon emissions.

If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, ATS brings you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is not actually that new, with small scale examples being demonstrated from 2000. It is however the first time that this technology is being implemented in a commercial coal-fired plant. The success of this plant could provide encouragement for other coal plants looking to reduce emissions.

The mechanics behind CSS are rather simple. The CO2 is captured from the point source (power plant) post combustion. The flue gas produced is transported via ducts to a carbon processing facility. This carbon is then compressed and buried underground. Some energy is required for the capture, compression and burial of the carbon leading to a slight reduction in the energy production of the coal plant. An alternative to burying the carbon gas could be resale to oil production companies that can use it to improve oil collection. This alternate method is how SaskPower, plans to compensate for the added expense and decreased productivity as they implement CCS at their facility in Saskatchewan.

SaskPower is the only company to be developing CCS technology in a commercial coal plant currently. However, with worldwide greenhouse gas emissions growing, it could be the precedent needed for the further development of this technology in the future.