A Marquee ‘Clean Coal’ Project Is Failing

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ian Austen for the New York Times:An electrical plant on the Saskatchewan prairie was the great hope for industries that burn coal.In the first large-scale project of its kind, the plant was equipped with a technology that promised to pluck carbon out of the utility’s exhaust and bury it underground, transforming coal into a cleaner power source. In the months after opening, the utility and the provincial government declared the project an unqualified success.But the $1.1 billion project is now looking like a green dream.Known as SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3, the project has been plagued by multiple shutdowns, has fallen way short of its emissions targets, and faces an unresolved problem with its core technology. The costs, too, have soared, requiring tens of millions of dollars in new equipment and repairs.“At the outset, its economics were dubious,” said Cathy Sproule, a member of Saskatchewan’s legislature who released confidential internal documents about the project. “Now they’re a disaster.”The utility that runs the project, SaskPower, and advocates for carbon capture argue that the setbacks are typical teething problems associated with any new and complex technology.“Over time, as more companies, countries engage in carbon capture and storage technologies, the price for everybody is going to come down,” Mike Marsh, the chief executive of SaskPower, told a legislative committee in January. “That will make it easier to employ.”The Boundary Dam Power Station sits near a wealth of resources not far from the North Dakota border.Hundreds of years of coal reserves are buried under the ground nearby, virtually eliminating transportation costs. And the mining creates employment in an area with limited job prospects.“It’s a low-cost, stable supply,” Mr. Marsh said. “There’s a tremendous opportunity in North America to continue to utilize coal.”To the utility and the provincial government, the process known as carbon capture and storage seemed tantalizing when a review of the power system began 11 years ago.The technology offered a way to stick with coal in a carbon-conscious era. It was especially attractive in Canada, where rising emissions from the oil sands have more than offset reductions elsewhere, including Ontario’s abandonment of coal-fired electrical generation.Through the process, machinery would first remove most of the soot and ash from the coal’s exhaust. The exhaust would then pass through a kind of chemical called an amine that would snatch the carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, out of it. The gathered carbon dioxide, separated from the amine, would be compressed, moved through pipelines and ultimately buried underground.Variations of the technology have been used as far back as the 1920s. And small demonstration projects have largely worked, including one in Norway that opened in 2012.Boundary Dam, which received a major Canadian subsidy and opened in September 2014, was the first full-scale deployment of the technology to cut emissions from burning coal. Saskatchewan picked a process owned by Shell, encouraged by its history with petrochemicals.At the outset, the utility and the province said the project was working as intended, capturing 90 percent of the plant’s carbon. It was the equivalent, they said, of taking 250,000 cars off the road. Environmentalists and politicians from around the world came to check out Boundary Dam.But the success story disintegrated last November when Ms. Sproule, a member of the opposition New Democratic Party, unveiled the confidential documents in the provincial legislature. She wouldn’t identify the people who provided the documents, although the government confirmed their authenticity.The documents showed that the system was working at only 45 percent of capacity. One memo, written a month after the government publicly boasted about the project, cited eight major problem areas. Fixing them, it said, could take a year and a half, and the memo warned that it was not immediately apparent how to resolve some problems.A chart covering the first year of operation showed that the system often didn’t work at all. When it was turned back on after shutdowns for adjustments and repairs, the amount of carbon captured sometimes even dropped.The buoyant public remarks, Mr. Marsh said, accurately reflected the company’s early assessment of the system. “We were very optimistic when this plant came online,” he said.Still, he acknowledged that “there were a few statements that it was achieving more than it had.” Mr. Marsh characterized many of the problems as design issues, such as inadequate temperature control systems, rather than fundamental flaws.But Boundary Dam has exposed a problem with Shell’s process when used with coal exhaust. Despite the plant’s initial filtering, tiny particles of ash still remain in the exhaust and contaminate the amine, reducing its ability to grab carbon, Mr. Marsh said.The control room of a carbon capture and storage facility at Boundary Dam Power Station. Credit Michael Bell/CPTOR, via Associated Press“Over all, we are pleased with the performance of the capture technology,” Shell Canada said in a statement, adding that it was working with SaskPower “to optimize operations and capture any lessons that can be applied to improve future projects.”But the costs are piling up.One shutdown last spring to clean and replenish the chemical cost 17 million Canadian dollars. Mr. Marsh said that the company was still looking for a way to prevent the contamination.The repeated shutdowns have caused SaskPower to miss multiple carbon dioxide deliveries to Cenovus Energy, the Canadian oil company that signed a 10-year contract with the utility to buy most of the gas. (Cenovus uses carbon dioxide to force oil from largely depleted wells.) SaskPower has had to pay 7 million Canadian dollars in penalties, offsetting most of the 9 million Canadian dollars in payments received.On top of that, the carbon system is a voracious consumer of the electricity generated by Boundary Dam, which has 150 megawatts of capacity. Mr. Marsh testified that about 30 megawatts of capacity were consumed by the system, and an additional 15 to 16 megawatts were needed to compress the carbon dioxide.Tim Boersma, the acting director of the energy security and climate initiative at the Brookings Institution, said that extensive power loss is a significant factor keeping other utilities from following SaskPower’s lead.“That is exactly the reason this is not going to fly,” Mr. Boersma said. “The plant’s efficiency goes down so dramatically.”As it continues to sort out the plant’s problems, SaskPower is damping expectations. The utility cut its emissions reduction target for this year to 800,000 metric tons, from one million.The company said it is working with the engineering firm that designed the project to solve the problems and increase efficiency. Mr. Marsh said there were indications that performance was improving. Last month, the utility said the system was working at 67 percent of capacity.Even some environmentalists are hoping for a turnaround.George Peridas, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and clean air program, said his group did not endorse the use of coal, but it accepted that coal would continue to be part of the energy mix.Carbon capture, he said, will be a “vital part” of reducing emissions. Based on discussions with SaskPower, Mr. Peridas said he was confident that Boundary Dam would eventually work out.“I don’t see any indication that the carbon capture system of this plant is broken,” Mr. Peridas said. “It’s had a bumpy start.”Technology to Make Clean Energy From Coal Is Stumbling in Practice A Marquee ‘Clean Coal’ Project Is Failinglast_img read more

See More

Kipyegon adds world title to Olympic 1500m gold

first_imgBy Mitch PhillipsLONDON, England (Reuters) – Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon added the world title to her Olympic gold when she won a superb women’s 1500 metres final in a white-hot London Stadium atmosphere yesterday, judging her charge to perfection and holding off the field.Kipyegon, silver medallist two years ago, took up the running with 600 to go and was stride for stride with in-form Sifan Hassan until the Dutchwoman faded while the Kenyan stayed strong to cross the line in four minutes 2.59 seconds.Jenny Simpson of the United States, the 30-year-old 2011 champion, also showed great track nous as she slipped up the inside and finished like a teenage sprinter to take second.South Africa’s 800 metres specialist Caster Semenya also powered through on the line to grab the bronze.“I knew it would be fast, it is such a quality field,” Kipyegon said. “The best was going to win here. It was always going to be quick and competitive.”After a relatively low-key night’s action, the 55 000 crowd roared their encouragement to home hopes Laura Muir and Laura Weightman to create a vibrant atmosphere.Muir had travelled to Rio de Janeiro with real medal hopes last year after a stellar season but failed to live with the last-lap pace in the Olympic final and finished seventh.CROWD FRENZYThis time she had vowed not to repeat that error and set the pace from the start and, although it was not a particularly punishing one, her positive move sent the crowd into frenzy.After a slow second lap, Kipyegon and Hassan, the fastest over the distance in the world this year, took it up with 600 to go as Muir and Simpson stayed in their wake in a thrilling last 300.But it was the Kenyan who had the superior staying power as she drove through the line for a brilliant win to follow her 2016 triumph at the Olympics in Rio.Hassan, who slipped to fifth, and then Muir, fourth, ran out of gas over the last few metres, allowing Simpson and Semenya, who has barely run a 1500 in her career but has been unbeatable over two laps, to snatch the minor medals.“My coach has been telling me all day, ‘Be willing to run your guts out and you’ll be great’, so I did exactly what she said,” Simpson said.“The last 300 metres in particular I ran my guts out and it paid off.“Having the experience is huge because having the ability to stay calm is so hard. To come out with a medal, I think it was down to keeping my wits about me.”RISKY MOVESimpson said she has now run a remarkable 17 global championship 1500m races and “learned 17 different ways of running them.”“I don’t think I’ve ever passed on the inside before but for a nanosecond I saw that gap open. It’s risky, it could have closed, but it worked out,” she said.Semenya, who will start as favourite to retain her world title over 800m, said she had enjoyed her major championship experience of the longer distance.“It’s just the beginning for me, you’ll be seeing more of me in the 1500,” she said.“I like the challenge and I think I can do better.”Semenya, whose entire career has been run in the spotlight of questions about her hyperandrogenism and the claimed advantage her high natural testosterone levels give her, was less happy to discuss that situation.“I’ve no time for nonsense about medication,” she said. “My focus is on being healthy and competing.”Ethiopia’s defending champion and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba looked short of fitness and finished last.last_img read more

See More

FA Community Shield Live on DStv, GOtv Max and Jolli

first_imgThe 2020-21 Premier League season is just around the corner, with the battle set to begin in earnest on Saturday, 12 September for the Premier League and La Liga and on Saturday, 19 September for Serie A.Arsenal and Liverpool will be raising the curtain on the highly anticipated season, with African superstars, Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going head to head when they meet in the FA Community Shield on Saturday, 29 August.MultiChoice Nigeria said in a statement yesterday that DStv subscribers will have a front-row seat to the football action on SuperSport 3 and SuperSport 10 when the game broadcasts live and in HD at 4:30pm, whilst GOtv Max and Jolli customers will have access to the game on SuperSport Select 2 at no extra cost! “In line with our mission to enrich the lives of our customers we felt it important to kick off this new football season with a wider broadcast of the anticipated clash and make it an inclusive experience for all our valued customers”, said John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria.Arsenal will be looking to make a big statement in the clash, with their FA Cup triumph at the end of the last season, signaling their intent to return to glory in what will be manager Mikel Arteta’s first full campaign in charge.They also defeated Liverpool 2-1 when the teams last met – in a Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium in mid-July – thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazete and Reiss Nelson, though it was a match in which the Gunners clung on for the three points.Liverpool, meanwhile, are still basking in the glow of their first league title in 30 years, though manager Jurgen Klopp will want his side to quickly rediscover the hunger that drove them to glory through 2019-20.In addition to the big three leagues, SuperSport will also bring viewers an unprecedented coverage of the Euro 2020 Championship, UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Nations League.The breadth and depth of the coverage will include build-ups with respected analysts as well as language options for commentary including Pidgin. In addition, there will be a comprehensive coverage of football leagues, with hundreds of games from Premier League, La Liga (with exclusive English commentary) and Serie A, on the new dedicated thematic channels.Meanwhile, customers can enjoy more variety of football action with the ongoing Major League Soccer on ESPN, available on DStv packages and GOtv Max package.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

See More

Taylor Council passes first two readings that will allow Breweries & Cannabis Retail within the District

first_imgMore information on the Bylaw amendments can be found on the District of Taylor’s website. TAYLOR, B.C. – At a District of Taylor Council meeting, on Tuesday, Council passed the first two readings of a Bylaw that would allow for Micro Breweries, Craft Distilleries, and Cannabis Retail within the District.Earlier this year, the District had been contacted by local business investors that showed interest in developing a small scale craft brewery within the municipality.According to District Staff, after reviewing the District’s Zoning Bylaw, it was determined that the proposed use is not permitted in any of Taylor’s commercial zones.- Advertisement -Based on the interest expressed by the proponents, Staff prepared a proposal of zoning by-law amendments which looked at allowing both breweries and the sale of cannabis.The Cannabis Retail amendments proposed to the District of Taylor’s Zoning Bylaw are modelled closely after those adopted by the City of Fort St John.Later this summer, the District will be holding a public hearing on these Bylaw amendments before being adopted.Advertisementlast_img read more

See More