French Alstom plans large carbon capture project in Canada

15 October 2009 18:01  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Alstom plans to build a 1m tonne/year carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) demonstration facility in Canada, one of the largest such projects in the world, the French energy technology company said on Thursday.

The significant size of the Canadian project demonstrated that CCS technology was no longer in a test phase but was ready for commercialisation, Alstom said.

The project, a partnership with Canadian power firm TransAlta and independent power producer Capital Power, would use Alstom’s proprietary chilled ammonia process and be integrated with a 450 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant to be built near Edmonton in Canada’s western Alberta province, it said.

The company did not disclose timelines for construction or completion, but it said its technology was expected to be commercially available by 2015.

Alstom spokesman Tim Brown told ICIS news that Canada’s federal and the Alberta provincial government would contribute €500m ($746m) to help fund the CCS project. However, he would not disclose total project costs.

Last week, Shell said it planned a Canadian dollars (C$) 1.35bn ($1.32bn) CSS project at its Scotford oil sands and bitumen upgrader site in Alberta province. That project will receive C$865m in Canadian government support.

Canada’s government sees CCS as the most viable emissions reducing technology. The country is under mounting pressure to curb CO2 emissions, in particular emissions from the oil sands and bitumen upgraders in Alberta.

In related news, the Alberta government said it received this week an international award from the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) in London for a project that uses CO2 to extract coalbed methane.

At the same forum, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu told delegates that CCS could be commercially viable within ten years, but reaching that goal would require major efforts by global governments and industry.

Meanwhile, in Germany, chemicals and energy union IG BCE urged the government to quickly pass legislation to help the development of CCS project in that country.

However, there remain doubts that CCS can be made cost-effective for widespread commercial application.

($1 = €0.67; $1 = C$1.02)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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