Leaders in the coal industry are looking at a new technology they hope would reduce harmful carbon emissions.
If adopted, North Dakota could lead the way in creating a viable future for coal.
North Dakota has billions of tons in Lignite coal reserves.
Impending carbon regulations could mean this coal would never be used.
“With out technology to deal with it from existing plants, no options for complying besides shutting down,” says Craig Bleth, Minnkota Environmental and Environmental Manager
BNI energy has partnered with Minnkota Power, and Allete Energy on a project that’s being called a step forward in clean coal technology.
A proposed carbon capture facility would take CO2 from coal fired power plants for use in enhanced oil recovery.
While at the same time, keeping it sequestered underground and out of the atmosphere.
“We’re currently in the process of evaluation technology to see if adaptable to Lignite,” says Craig
This kind of technology is being used in Texas, but has never before been tested on such a large scale. If they can figure out how to make it work with ND Lignite coal, it would be a big step forward for coal industry worldwide.
“The entire industry is interested in seeing technology demonstrated on an existing plant. They’re looking to see if this works. There is more lignite, low-rank coal or lignite resources in the world than any other fuel source. It could be deployed in India, China places that have significant carbon pollution,” says Wade Boeshans, BNI Energy
The Minnkota station would be the first in North Dakota to adopt the technology.
It comes at a price tag of over 1 billion dollars which means investors are needed.
“That’s where the business case had to be made. The parasitic load on a plant like ours its about thirty to fourty percent,” says Bleth
It’s never been done before, but using knowledge gained from smaller-scale projects, officials say there is real hope for coal.
Bleth says the companies will decide by the end of next year weather or not to move forward with the project.
If so, he says the new facility could be in operation by 2022.