How environmentally friendly is Boundary CCS?

From: The StarPhoenix

By Paul Hanley

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is touted as an environmentally friendly solution to climate change. But is it?

It certainly sounds like a good idea. With CCS, we keep using plentiful fossil fuels such as coal, but the climate-changing carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when it burns is captured and put back in the ground from whence it came.

Saskatchewan has become a leader in this technology, having built the first commercial CCS coal-fired power plant in the world at Boundary Dam. In previous columns, I have questioned this project based on cost, but there are also serious environmental concerns woven into the cost question.

First, it takes a lot of energy to operate the technology to remove CO2 from the smoke. At Boundary Dam, for example, about 30 per cent of the power produced is required to operate the carbon capture technology. So to make the same amount of electricity available as before the CCS technology was added, more coal has to be burned. This means more mining and transporting of coal, with environmental impacts including climate pollution.

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