On the last leg of my Master’s degree and eager to make my transition from academia to industry, I began work as an EIT (Engineer in Training) at the International CCS Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) in July of 2017, an exciting time to begin my professional career. My research had led me to understand the significant role that carbon capture and storage (CCS) has to play in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. So, I embraced stepping up to the role of Junior Project Manager of the Shand CCS Feasibility Study (Shand Study). I knew this study would be important, both on a corporate level and on a personal level but (at the time) I had yet to grasp its significance. 

The above illustration shows a 3D model of the proposed CO2 capture facility for the Shand power station. 

The Shand Study would explore the option of retrofitting the 305-MW SaskPower Shand Power Station (located in Estevan Saskatchewan) with post combustion CO2 capture technology. The study would evaluate the use of MHI’s Kansai Mitsubishi Carbon Dioxide Removal process and build on the learnings from the Boundary Dam 3 (BD3) CCS Facility⁠— the world’s first industrial scale application of CCS to a coal-fired facility. This study, which officially began in September of 2017, would be the first big assignment of my engineering career.  

I was delighted when the opportunity to have it peer-reviewed came along. The final peer-reviewed paper that summarizes the key technical and economic findings of the Shand Study was recently published in the Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology under the title:  Implementing a second generation CCS facility on a coal fired power station – results of a feasibility study to retrofit SaskPower’s Shand power station with CCS Stavroula Giannaris, Corwyn Bruce, Brent Jacobs, Wayuta Srisang and Dominika Janowczyk, The International CCS Knowledge Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada 

Key Outcomes of the Shand Study and their Significance to the CCS World 

While no decision has been made by SaskPower, the learnings from the Shand Study ⁠— completed to the American Association of Costing Engineers (AACE) guidelines for a class 4 estimate ⁠— showing that the facility could see a nominal capacity to capture 2 million tonnes of CO2 (Mt) per year is significant. The key outcomes of the Shand Study, include: 

  • Cost Savings: High costs have always been quoted as the main barrier to implementing CCS technology. Like with any industrial process cost savings are anticipated with economies of scale. Based on what had been done with the BD3’s CCS facility the next capture plant was estimated to be 30% cheaper. The Shand study would not only meet this expectation but far exceed it. Implementing CCS to the Shand Power station would come with a 67% reduction in capital costs on a per tonne of CO2 capture basis.   

  • Sustainable Heat Rejection Design: The addition of a CCS facility increases the heat rejection load of a facility by 50%. These facilities are often experiencing water constraints as is. The design of the proposed hybrid heat rejection system for the proposed Shand CCS Facility would require no additional water draw by utilizing only the flue gas condensate from flue gas cooling. This would also be maintaining the zero liquids discharge status of the Shand power station.  

  • Heat Integration Strategies: Like the CCS facility at BD3, steam for amine regeneration would be sourced from Shand’s turbine. However, a key design feature, which would place a butterfly valve into the IP-LP crossover, would enable load following CO2 capture capabilities.  

 The above chart shows the cost reduction of the Shand second-generation CCS facility compared with the BD3 project

Personal Growth and Skills Development 

My involvement in this project was a major milestone and vital learning experience. I was given the opportunity to develop two main skills: process modelling and project management under the expert direction of two leading global CCS experts. I was introduced to the world of modelling and worked with various software and tools under the direction of Brent Jacobs. Brent’s mentoring skills combined with his patience and thoroughness enabled me to develop technical modelling skills. I continue to hone my modeling capabilities with his help today. Our group’s Vice President, Corwyn Bruce, provided me with a crash course on “Project Management 101.” I admired the refinement of Corwyn’s communication capabilities and the style of his negotiating strategy. It was a joy to pull this study together with the team and I genuinely looked up to and admired both of our group’s leaders.  

The Importance of Peer Review 

The peer review designation is important as it signifies that work presented in a peer reviewed journal meets the standards and acceptance of the academic and research community. Once papers achieve this designation they can be cited in other reports and reviews, such as the reports done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A public version of the Shand Study was released as a 124-page document in November of 2018. This document presented the non-confidential details of the study. It was important to have the findings of the Shand Study achieve peer review status.  

Two papers involving each of the designs for the heat rejection system and the thermal integration and analysis were published previously in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control and can be found here. However, it was desired to have the entirety of the findings of the Shand Study “re-packaged” in the peer reviewed format. Due to the proprietary nature of the capture technology evaluated in this study, it was challenging to write a manuscript suitable for publication. To achieve this, we acquired the guidance of Tim Dixon (IEAGHG) and Katherine Romanak (University of Texas at Austin). These two outstanding mentors (both of whom are immensely accomplished in their respective fields) provided me with guidance and helped shape the paper as stands in its current format. I am very appreciative of the time they took to guide this to completion.  

My Message to You, the Reader  

This published, peer reviewed, paper is what I like to affectionately refer to as the “SparkNotes” version of the Shand CCS Feasibility Study. A “spotlight” format was chosen in preparing the manuscript for this paper. This spotlight format included a relatively lower word limit of 4000 words. Although challenging, this restriction afforded me the opportunity to practice using precise language in summarizing the key highlights of the original 124 paged document. I’m very proud of how this paper reads and I am very excited for you to read it.