Carbon Capture Facility and Keephills 3

Project Pioneer was designed to be installed on the modern operating Keephills 3 power plant operated by TransAlta and co-owned by TransAlta and Capital Power. Keephills 3 is Canada's most technologically advanced coal-fired power plant and was commissioned in 2011.

Keephills 3 has a capacity to generate 495/447 gross/net MW and consumes 1.8 million tonnes of coal each year from the Highvale Mine.

Keephills 3 utilizes supercritical boiler technology, which is more energy efficient than typical pulverized coal units. The technology relies on higher than typical boiler temperatures and pressures as well as a high-efficiency steam turbine. The higher efficiency means that less coal is needed to produce the same amount of power. Therefore, CO2 emissions per unit of power produced are lower than from a conventional coal plant.

In addition, Keephills 3 features advanced air emissions controls resulting in NOx, SO2, and mercury emissions lower than typical plants. Technologies incorporated into Keephills 3 include the most recent advances in low NOx combustion; hydrated lime slurry to control SO2; a pulse jet fabric filter dust collection system to control particulates; and activated carbon storage and injection system to control mercury emissions.

The Carbon Capture Facility (CCF) was designed to be an addition to the operating Keephills 3 facility, complementing the air emissions control system by removing CO2 from the gases released to the atmosphere. The chosen design was to also remove the remainder of the SOx and some of the particulate matter not removed by the Keephills 3 emissions control system.

The CCF was intended to divert approximately one third of the flue gas emitted by Keephills 3 and treat it to remove CO2 before it is released to the atmosphere. This approach would enable capturing a nominal 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually without having an excessive impact on the power generation process. The reason to limit the CCF to only one third of the flue gas was to manage risks and costs within acceptable limits. The CCF would thus be of a sufficient size for a technology demonstration at a meaningful industrial scale, while controlling the budget and risk to a level acceptable to the industry partners.

The CCF was, in fact, designed to an instantaneous capacity of 1.17 million tonnes per year (134 tonnes per hour) to take into account the Keephills 3 average availability of 90% and a minimum CCF availability of 95%. The chosen technology removes 90% of the CO2 present in the flue gas.