Canada is a global leader in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), with 3 of the world’s 15 currently operational large-scale projects. As an important part of the effort to protect the environment and develop the country’s economy and energy resources in a responsible manner, Canada is active in CCUS research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) at the national and provincial levels. Over the last number of years, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have committed more than $1.8 billion in funding for CCUS projects, with significant additional investments leveraged from the private sector. These investments support several interdependent initiatives focusing on reducing market barriers and realizing the full potential of CCUS technology.

Through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Government of Canada is pursuing innovative cutting-edge CCUS RD&D both internally and with external partners. The Office of Energy Research and Development (OERD) is the Government of Canada’s coordinator of energy research and development (R&D) activities, including for government investments in CCUS. Through its CanmetENERGY Laboratories, the research arm of NRCan, Canada is supporting bench and pilot-scale CCUS R&D with particular emphasis on step-change carbon capture technologies to significantly reduce energy and cost penalties associated with CCUS. Major investments have been directed towards the establishment of an integrated R&D platform to cover the entire CCUS chain to better understand the integration of multiple technologies. Special large pilot-scale facilities are being built to investigate the potential of various high-pressure oxy-combustion technologies to improve the overall efficiency of CCUS systems. 

Canada is also addressing CCUS issues in the international arena through multilateral organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Action Group of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CCUS AG), the Canada-U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue, and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). This also includes projects such as the trilateral Canada-USA-Mexico North American Carbon Storage Atlas, an atlas of major CO2 sources, potential CO2 storage reservoirs and storage estimates in the three countries. In addition, Canada is a participating member of Mission Innovation, a global partnership of 21 major economies aimed at reinvigorating and accelerating clean energy innovation — including in CCUS — with the objective of making clean energy widely affordable.

Further information on different aspects of Canada’s CCUS programs, activities, and key organizations can be found below:

Large-Scale Demonstration Projects

Weyburn-Midale Project – Saskatchewan
The Weyburn Field operated by Cenovus Energy has been injecting CO2 as part of an ongoing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operation since October 2000. The adjacent Midale Field, operated by Apache Canada, began CO2 injection in 2005. Combined, about 2.8 megatonnes (Mt) per year of anthropogenic CO2 originating from the Great Plains Synfuels Plant (coal gasification) in North Dakota, USA, is transported by pipeline 320 km across the Canadian border and injected into these depleting oil fields. CO2 produced along with the oil is recycled and re-injected into the reservoirs, meaning over 5 Mt per year of CO2 is injected annually into these fields (recycled and new CO2 directly from the Great Plains Synfuels).

In addition, Weyburn-Midale hosted the 12-year IEA GHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project. Twelve years of research on measurement and monitoring of CO2 in the Weyburn and Midale oilfields culminated with the publication of Best Practices for Validating CO2 Geological Storage (Geosciences Publishing, 2012), a definitive guide for jurisdictions and companies thinking of storing CO2 underground. In addition, a special technical edition of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies was published in 2013 with technical results from the project, as a companion to the Best Practices Manual.

Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project – Saskatchewan  
Constructed and operated by SaskPower, a publicly owned utility in the province of Saskatchewan, the Boundary Dam ICCS Demonstration Project is one of the world’s first and largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities and the first to combine CCUS with commercial scale coal-fired generation. This project has transformed an aging coal-fired unit at the Boundary Dam Power Station into a clean, reliable, and long-term producer of 115 megawatts of base-load electricity, capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as one million tonnes per year. The CO2 captured from the Boundary Dam Project will be used both for enhanced oil recovery and to further deep saline storage research through the adjacent Aquistore Project. Monthly performance updates on the project can be found at http://saskpowerccs.com/newsandmedia/latest-news/

Arial view of SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Power Station
View of SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada (Courtesy: SaskPower)

Quest CO2 Capture and Storage Project – Alberta
The Quest project is the world’s first large-scale CCS project at a bitumen upgrader. This project will store up to 1 Mt per year of CO2 captured from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, which turns bitumen from Canada’s oil sands into synthetic crude. This project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 1 million tonnes each year and is operated as a joint venture between Shell Canada (60 percent), Chevron Canada (20 percent), and Marathon Oil Sands L.P. (20 percent). Following testing in early 2015, when 200,000 tonnes of CO2 were successfully captured and stored, commercial operations began in November 2015. A number of knowledge sharing reports have been made public and can be found on the Government of Alberta’s website at http://www.energy.alberta.ca/CCS/3848.asp.

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) – Alberta
With commercial operations expected to begin in 2017, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line is a pipeline infrastructure that will connect Alberta’s industrial heartland with world-class storage and enhanced oil recovery commercial opportunities within the province. The pipeline infrastructure has the potential to transport and store up to 15 Mt of CO2 per year, with 1.8 MT per year of confirmed initial sources, including an Agrium fertilizer plant as well as the  North West Redwater bitumen refinery, currently under construction in Alberta. The captured CO2 will be transported via a 240 km pipeline to mature oil reservoirs in central Alberta, where it will be injected for enhanced oil recovery purposes and permanent sequestration. http://www.enhanceenergy.com

Research and Development Projects   

Aquistore – Saskatchewan
Aquistore is among the first projects in Canada to demonstrate CO2 injection and storage within a deep saline geological formation. Managed by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC), the project will be partnered with SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project. Aquistore will receive CO2 from SaskPower via pipeline. The CO2 will then be injected to a depth of 3.4 km. In 2012, a permanent seismic array and baseline 3D seismic surveys at the injection site were installed. Both the injection and observation wells were drilled to depths of 3396 m and 3400 m respectively. These heavily instrumented wells are currently providing valuable geologic knowledge and data for the project’s monitoring, measurement, and verification (MMV) program.

SaskPower Carbon Capture Test Facility – Saskatchewan
SaskPower, a public-owned utility in Saskatchewan, has constructed a Carbon Capture Test Facility (CCTF) at the Shand Power Station site near Estevan, Saskatchewan, in collaboration with Hitachi Ltd. The CCTF provides a robust evaluation of the energy demand, collection efficiency, long-term stability, operability, maintainability, and reliability of amine based, post-combustion technologies. Construction of the new $60 million facility began in the spring of 2013, and the facility opened in June 2015. Through a collaboration agreement, Hitachi Ltd supported the facility design, provided certain core equipment, and was the first to proceed with demonstration testing at the facility. The facility has a flexible design to accommodate a wide range of solvents and has capacity to add or remove process equipment, change configuration of vessel internals, and even expand the height of the key absorber vessel if needed in the future. Along with the physical facility, SaskPower is establishing technical support capacity for post-combustion capture technologies. After initial demonstration testing by Hitachi Ltd, the CCTF will provide a unique platform where further competitive technologies can be evaluated with reasonable confidence, as SaskPower seeks proposals for future large-scale carbon capture projects.

Other Initiatives, Organizations, and Programs

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)  
NRCan plays the leading role in the management of federal activities related to energy RD&D through its Office of Energy Research and Development (OERD) and the national CanmetENERGY laboratories. OERD leads on federal energy RD&D and the allocation of RD&D funding from the government of Canada to stakeholders, including industry. OERD is responsible for federal RD&D programs, such as the Clean Energy Fund (CEF), the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII), the ecoENERGY Technology Initiative (ecoETI), and the Program of Energy Research and Development (PERD), and coordinates Canada’s involvement in international energy R&D activities.

CanmetENERGY Laboratories
CanmetENERGY-Ottawa has internationally recognized and utilized pilot-plant facilities that are used to transform novel concepts into state-of-the-art technology in the field of fossil fuel conversion for power, steam, and heat production with the potential for efficient CCUS. The facilities fill a niche role in technology development between the fundamental research done by universities and the industry-led pre-commercial demonstration and commercial profitable business operations. In combination with the highly trained and experienced staff and an extensive network of research partners in Canada and around the world, the pilot-plant infrastructure provides the ‘critical mass’ required for the development and advancement of breakthrough fossil fuel technologies. In addition, there is an established and well-tested modelling capability to complement the unique experimental facilities to facilitate knowledge development, design consideration, and full-scale technical feasibility analysis.   

CMC Research Institutes
CMC Research Institutes is an independent, not-for-profit business focused on accelerating the development of technologies to eliminate industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Since its inception in 2009, CMC has awarded $22 million to a portfolio of 44 research projects supporting over 155 researchers and over 200 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. CMC is currently developing a series of research institutes and groups across Canada, including a Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute. Each institute or group specializes in finding solutions to carbon management challenges from different perspectives. CMC also endeavors to provide researchers, industrial practitioners, government regulators and policy makers, and citizens with information through media releases, an annual report, scientific publications, news, and links to important sites around the world. 

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)
COSIA, launched in March 2012, is an alliance of over 12 oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. COSIA is bringing together leading thinkers from industry, government, academia, and the wider public to improve measurement, accountability, and environmental performance in the oil sands in four priority areas. These four Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs) are tailings, water, land, and greenhouse gases. To date, COSIA member companies have shared 814 distinct technologies and innovations that cost almost $1.3 billion to develop. COSIA is also a primary funder of the NRG/COSIA Carbon XPrize, a $20 million challenge to develop breakthrough technologies that convert CO2 emissions into valuable products (http://carbon.xprize.org/).

The Clean Energy Technologies Research Institute (CETRi)
CETRi supports all of the low-carbon and carbon-free clean energy R&D activities in the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. Focus areas of research include, among others, testing programs for CO2 capture technologies and advanced solvent-based CO2 capture.

The Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC)
PTRC at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1998 to foster R&D into enhanced oil recovery and carbon storage, with the goals of improving recovery rates while reducing the environmental footprint of the oil and gas industry. PTRC manages the IEA GHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Storage and Monitoring Project, which developed a Best Practices Manual after the completion of 12 years of research. In addition, the PTRC is managing the Aquistore Project that involves a program to store CO2 captured from SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power plant in southeastern Saskatchewan in a deep saline formation in the Williston Basin near the plant site.

Carbon Capture and Storage Research Consortium of Nova Scotia (CCSNS)
CCSNS, a non-profit organization consisting of the Province of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Power Inc., and Dalhousie University, completed studies to assess the economic and technical feasibility for CCS both onshore and offshore in Nova Scotia. Initial geological screening assessments, onshore storage-site selection and characterization, studies on capture technology options, and the development of onshore legal/regulatory and risk management roadmaps for the province have been completed. In addition, a public stakeholder awareness plan was established and completed as part of the project. The findings provide valuable information on CCS in North America. A summary of the project’s findings can be found here.

Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environmental Solutions (AIEES)
As a global leader in technology and research on oil sands and heavy oil, Alberta is at the forefront of technologies such as gasification, upgrading, CCS, advanced recovery, water use, tailings management, and alternative energy. This unique world expertise has fostered Alberta’s commitment to the “science of solutions” related to all areas of energy and the environment.

Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF)
Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AIFT) is an applied R&D corporation that develops and commercializes technology to grow innovative enterprises. AITF specializes in converting early stage ideas into marketable technology products and services. AITF is involved in research activities in several CCS projects in western Canada and has been involved in the production of the Atlas of CO2 Storage Capacity in North America. AITF has also recently been engaged in a joint bi-national (Canada-U.S.) project with the Energy and Environmental Research Centre at the University of North Dakota in a study of the Basal Aquifer in the Alberta and Williston basins in Canada and United States to assess its CO2 storage potential and the effects of storing CO2 in this deep saline aquifer.   

Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC)
The Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC) is an association of responsible, leading Canadian coal and coal-fired electricity producers and the California-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Its aim is to secure a future for coal-fired electricity generation, within the context of Canada’s multi-fueled electricity industry, by proactively addressing environmental issues with governments and its stakeholders.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)
The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) is an independent, non-profit research institute committed to excellence in the analysis of energy economics and related environmental policy issues in the producing, transportation, and consuming sectors.

CCS101.ca
This website, a comprehensive summary of CCS for members of the general public as well as a resource for experienced CCS researchers, was founded and funded by the IEA GHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project as part of the project’s commitment to provide public communications and outreach to local Saskatchewan, national, and international audiences. Managed by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre, the website was refurbished in 2012 and has added some impressive features, such as resources for educators.  

The CO2 Capture Project (CCP)
The CO2 Capture Project (CCP) is a partnership of several major energy companies working together to advance the technologies that will underpin the deployment of industrial-scale CCS. Since its formation in 2000, the CCP has undertaken more than 150 projects to increase the science, economics, and engineering applications of CCS. The group has been working closely with government organizations — including the U.S. Department of Energy, the European Commission, and more than 60 academic bodies and global research institutes. In Canada, CCP, joined by Cenovus Energy, Climate Change Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC), Devon Canada, MEG Energy, Praxair Inc., and Statoil ASA, are piloting oxy-fuel combustion technology to reduce CO2 emissions from once-through steam generators (OTSG), with Suncor being the project manager. OSTG boilers are the primary source of CO2 emissions from in situ production of heavy oil. A pilot test of oxy-fuel combustion in a test boiler at Cenovus Energy’s Christina Lake in situ site is scheduled for September 2012–September 2013. 

Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC)
Based in Alberta, the CCEMC is a not-for-profit, independent organization with a mandate to expand climate change knowledge, develop new ‘clean’ technologies, and explore practical ways of implementing them. Funding for CCEMC is collected from industry. Since 2007, Alberta companies that annually produce more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over a baseline are legally required to reduce their greenhouse gas intensity by 12 percent. Companies have three options to meet their reduction target: improve the efficiency of their operations, buy carbon credits in the Alberta-based offset system, or pay $15 into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund for every tonne over the reduction limit. The CCEMC invests the money collected in clean technology. As of June 2016, CCEMC has committed more than $349 million towards projects. The projects announced to date are estimated to reduce emissions in Alberta by nearly twelve megatonnes by 2020.

Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N)
The Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N) is a group of Canadian companies representing multiple industries, including coal and the oil sands. All ICO2­N member companies have a strong interest in and a commitment to develop CCS to help Canada meet its climate change objectives while supporting economic growth. ICO2N has completed extensive technical, economic, and policy analysis on CCS and developed its own unique economic model of large-scale CCS in Canada.

Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)
PTAC’s mission is to facilitate innovation; collaborative research; and technology development, demonstration, and deployment for a responsible Canadian hydrocarbon energy industry. PTAC, through the formation of several networks acting as think tanks, has brought together producers (the end users), innovators, inventors, research providers, service and supply companies (the technology providers), and government agencies (the beneficiary of technologies) to work in collaboration to develop needed technologies. In this free-thinking environment, guidance from producers has enabled technology providers to focus their activities to develop relevant and desired technologies to meet producer needs. Guidance from government and regulatory agencies has enabled technology providers to ensure their technologies are in compliance with government policies and regulations. PTAC’s role is to effectively facilitate this process and cultivate a culture of innovation. PTAC has hosted numerous events over the past several years in the area of CCS — e.g., October 22, 2012, Towards Clean Energy Production: Managing CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery, Carbon Capture and Storage and Clean Fuel Production.

Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)
SRC is Saskatchewan’s leading provider of applied R&D and technology commercialization. SRC takes the leading-edge knowledge developed in Saskatchewan and sells it to the world and, at the same time, brings the best knowledge the world has to offer and applies it to the unique Saskatchewan situations. SRC was involved in research associated with the Weyburn-Midale project.

The North West Redwater Partnership
The North West Redwater Partnership is constructing a new bitumen refinery in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland with integrated CO2 pre-combustion capture.