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Government of Canada backs clean coal power generation

March 17, 2011
Regina, Saskatchewan
Dr. Raphael Idem explaining the coal gasification  technology to Minister Baird

Dr. Raphael Idem explaining the coal gasification  technology to Minister Baird

Corresponding Document: Photo Gallery

The Government of Canada is investing in the research and development of new gasification technologies that use low-grade coal and petroleum coke.  Under the Saskatchewan Energy Innovation Alliance (SEIA), Saskatchewan’s two universities are partnering with private industry to test methods that could lead to a new market for Saskatchewan’s lignite coal reserves in clean energy production.

The Honourable John Baird, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, announced a federal investment of $899,000 to this three-year coal-gasification project. An additional investment of $300,000 from Carbon Management Canada, with commitments from key stakeholders demonstrates support for clean energy production within the industry.

Growing our economy is our government’s top priority.  Innovations in clean energy not only create jobs, they balance increased demands for more energy while also protecting our environment for future generations.” said Minister Baird.

We are a leading energy producer and supplier and will continue in that role as we move into the next decades. It’s critical that we also demonstrate leadership in managing and mitigating the impacts of carbon emissions. This project is one of the ways we are doing that,” said Richard Adamson, Managing Director of Carbon Management Canada (CMC).

Scientists from the University of Saskatchewan will design, test and construct prototypes of a new catalytic gasifier with the support of key researchers from the University of Regina.  The result could be a more cost effective and reliable clean-energy product which uses low-grade coal and petroleum coke as its fuel source. Producing a steady, cost-effective source of energy from this gasification technology could potentially reduce capital and operating costs by 30 per cent for next generation power plants.

This technology could also revolutionize western Canadian oil sands recovery work by substituting natural gas with the product gas from clean coal and petroleum coke gasification.  An additional benefit of the new technology is that it creates a sequestration-ready carbon dioxide (CO2) by product thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  This project will also address management of the resulting CO2 stream, including development of a detailed geological description of SK CO2 sites and further testing and assessment of geological storage containment systems.
Developing new, more environmentally friendly uses for Saskatchewan’s low-grade coal reserves also fosters long-term economic growth and creates more jobs for Canadians.

The projected growth in global energy demand means that we will need to make use of all of our energy resources, including coal,” said Todd Pugsley, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and lead-investigator on the project.  “This project will be a critical step in ensuring we can use coal in a cleaner fashion and in developing Canadian clean coal expertise and know-how that will be exportable worldwide.

"The International Test Centre for CO2 Capture (ITC) is ideally suited to assist with testing and developing a new catalyst for the gasifier process and capturing the CO2 from the process gas," said Raphael Idem, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina.

Carbon Management Canada, a federal Network of Centres of Excellence, facilitates the innovation in technology, knowledge and human capacity necessary to help the upstream fossil energy industry reduce carbon emissions.

Western Economic Diversification Canada in partnership with the provinces, industry associations and communities promotes the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision-making.

For additional information, contact:

Lloyd Suchet
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification

Joanne Mysak
Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Saskatoon, SK
Tel: (306) 975-5942

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK
Tel: (306) 966-1425

Dale Johnson
External Relations
University of Regina
Regina, SK
Tel: (306) 585-5439

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