Sunday, April 13, 2008

Carbon Capture in Canada

My father just recently came back from Calgary, Canada and brought a newspaper home from a newspaper entitled "The Globe and Mail" (this newspaper claims to be "the most authoritative news in Canada"). One article that caught my attention was one entitled "TransAlta and Alstom sign Carbon Capture Deal."

The article explains how TransAlta Corp, a power generation and wholesale marketing company with customers in Canada, the US, Mexico, and Australia, has struck a deal with French power firm Alstom SA to implement carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies onto an existing coal power plant in Alberta, Canada. The article further discusses how CCS technology is in its "infancy" and that "Calgary-based TransAlta won't actually start testing the Alstom technology - which involves cooling emissions through an ammonium carbonate solution before injecting them into the ground until 2012. If the technique is successful, however, the company could reduce its emissions from one coal power plant by one million tonnes a year."

Currently TransAlta produces 24 million tonnes of CO2 per year from its six coal-fired facilities. If CCS technology were implemented, as TransAlta has described, 25%less CO2 would be emitted.

Additionally, TransAlta chief executive officer Steve Snyder said in a statement, "Over the long term we believe CCS can be a source of competitive advantage for TransAlta and for Canada. These initial projects, however, are not commercially viable at this point and will not proceed without industry and government partnerships."

What really interested me in this article though, was that Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has already promised the province that by 2020 the increasing greenhouse gas emissions rate will freeze and that by 2050 they will decrease by 14%. Imagine if we heard that by 2020 that Texas would reduce its emission by 50%!

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