The Canadian government and Alberta will partner with EPCOR Utilities Incorporated and the Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC) in a $33 million research and development project that promises to make Canada a world leader in clean coal technology.The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, joined Alana Delong, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Calgary Bow, and Dr. David Lewin, EPCOR's Senior Vice-President, IGCC Development, for the announcement.
"This is the very first project to be supported by our ecoENERGY Technology Initiative, and it is a perfect example of the clean technology partnerships that will keep our economy growing and protect our environment," said Minister Lunn. "The clean-coal technology we are developing is going to help Canada and countries around the globe in reducing greenhouse gases and pollution." Doug Horner, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology and Minister Responsible for the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI) said this study could be a historic step in energy development.
"When we decided to support EPCOR through this study in 2006, Alberta recognized the importance of producing power from our vast coal reserves with reduced environmental impact. We're very pleased to see the federal government join us in this project, which is designed to realize the benefits of clean coal technology."
This front-end engineering design project is an important step before construction of a full-scale coal gasification power plant that will demonstrate this advanced clean coal technology to Canadians and the world.
The Government of Canada is investing $11 million in the project through ecoENERGY Technology, and both EPCOR and AERI will contribute equal amounts.
"The application of this technology, on this scale, with this type of coal, has not been used anywhere else in the world," said Dr. Lewin, who is also Chair of the CCPC. "By converting coal into synthesis gas, and capturing and sequestering CO(2), we can create electricity that's cleaner than the best natural gas facility operating today."
In addition to further reducing emissions of air pollutants associated with coal-fired electricity generation, the technology is designed to take advantage of opportunities for carbon capture and storage, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero.
The project will be located at EPCOR's Genesee Generating Station west of Edmonton. The Genesee plant is already the most technologically advanced and cleanest coal-fired generating station in Canada. Researchers will conduct front-end engineering design work for a power plant that would turn sub-bituminous coal into synthesis gas and hydrogen. This gasification process could virtually eliminate smog-related air emissions.
The work is scheduled for completion in 2009, and if subsequent investment and construction decisions go as planned, a 500-megawatt generating station using the new technology could be in operation in Alberta as early as 2015.