EPCOR, Siemens strive for near-zero emission coal

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - A three-year initiative to design and engineer Canada's first near-zero emission thermal power plant reached a milestone today when EPCOR Utilities Inc. (EPCOR) selected Siemens Fuel Gasification Technology GmbH & Co. KG (Siemens) as the technology provider for the design of a coal gasification facility.

The selection is the latest step in the EPCOR-led Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) of an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology power plant that could deliver improved air quality and capture carbon emissions for permanent storage.

Siemens will licence its SFG-500 coal gasifier technology to the FEED project. If subsequent investment and construction decisions go as planned, a 270-megawatt (net) generating station using the new technology would be targeted to commence operations in 2015.

"Today's agreement is a significant milestone in EPCOR's quest to take carbon capture and storage technologies from opportunity to operation," said EPCOR Senior Vice President, Dr. David Lewin. "This Genesee IGCC project alone has the potential to capture more than one and a quarter million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which would make a significant contribution towards provincial and federal targets while providing a reliable source of baseload power generation."

Siemens has operated its gasification technologies for more than 20 years, using a wide variety of energy sources as feedstocks for the conversion process. In 2007, as part of the FEED study, 18 tonnes of coal from Genesee were shipped to Siemens Gasification Test Centre in Freiberg, Germany for performance testing.

"While we have secured a number of orders for our coal gasification technology in China, the U.S. and Australia, we are pleased to have our first order in Canada," said Michael Suess, CEO of the Fossil Power Generation Division of Siemens Energy. "This is the first time our gasifier technology will be used for a full-scale IGCC project. In the future IGCC power plants could make a significant contribution toward more reliable energy supply with maximized climate and environmental compatibility."

The Alberta Energy Research Institute, Natural Resources Canada and EPCOR have each contributed $11 million to the $33 million FEED project, which is located at EPCOR's Genesee Generating Station, 70 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. The FEED project is being conducted in conjunction with the Canadian Clean Power Coalition, which is chaired by Dr. David Lewin.

In October 2007 the Genesee FEED study became the first project to be supported by the federal government's ecoENERGY Technology Initiative.

"Canada's fossil fuel resources are one of our country's biggest economic drivers, and our government is committed to developing cleaner ways to produce and use those resources," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "This project is an example of how our investments are advancing the technologies required to produce and use energy in ways that protect the health of both our environment and Canadians."

The FEED project is currently in its second phase, which is scheduled for completion in 2009. Following completion of the technology design work and financing decisions, EPCOR can enter into an agreement with Siemens to supply the gasification reactor and system components.

"This project is another demonstration of how government-industry partnerships are advancing Alberta's Climate Change Plan," said Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. "Carbon capture and storage is an important strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and this technology strengthens Alberta's position as a global leader in sustainable energy development."

EPCOR is preparing an Expression of Interest for the Genesee IGCC project, seeking to qualify under the Province of Alberta's $2 billion program for large-scale carbon capture and storage projects.


in Year