The City of Edmonton-owned power utility announced a deal with Siemens to have the German company licence its SFG-500 coal gasifier technology to the development of an electricity-generating power plant.
If the project proves feasible, a 270-megawatt generating station using the new technology with greatly reduced emissions would start up in 2015.
The facility would produce only about 15 per cent of the emissions of a conventional coal-burning generation plant, said Epcor senior vice-president David Lewin.
"It would go a long way to meeting the emissions targets set by the governments of both Canada and Alberta," Lewin said.
"This will be the very first time a gasified technology has been used for a full-scale integrated gasification combine-cycle power plant."
Much design and engineering work lies ahead as well as a final tally of costs, regulatory and environmental approvals and a decision to proceed by project investors, Lewin said.
Under the plan, the gasification facility at Genesee, west of Edmonton would convert oxygen, water and coal into syngas - mostly carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
The carbon monoxide is converted to carbon dioxide and more hydrogen. The hydrogen is burned to produce power while the carbon dioxide is captured.
The carbon dioxide could be piped to near-depleted oil wells to recover more oil, or stored underground.
Epcor, Ottawa and Alberta previously kicked in $11 million each to fund a study on generating electricity from gasified coal with greatly reduced emissions.