EDMONTON, AB – A tiny laser installed inside the exhaust stack at the Genesee 3 power plant (G3) is yielding big benefits for the plant’s co-owners, Capital Power and TransAlta.
“The monitor allows operators to fine-tune the plant’s performance,” said Genesee Plant Manager Alan Danroth of Capital Power, which operates the facility. “This fine tuning is expected to allow us to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60,000 tonnes a year, equal to nearly a year’s reduction requirement under provincial regulation.”
Under the Alberta Government’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation, coal-fired power plants, like G3, must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the next four years by 2% each year. Owners may meet this target by reducing emissions at source, obtaining and retiring verified carbon offsets, or paying $15 per tonne to a provincial technology fund – which would cost nearly $1 million for 60,000 tonnes of CO2 credits.
The reduction is especially significant because G3, with a supercritical boiler, is already the most efficient coal-fired power plant in Canada, with greenhouse gas emissions 18% lower than other facilities.
“Reducing emissions by another 2% is a significant achievement for G3, and it shows the potential of this technology for coal plants across the country,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “This project is a solid example of how public policy in Alberta is driving real reductions in emissions as we transition to a lower-carbon future.”
Capital Power purchased the laser from Boreal Laser, based in Spruce Grove, Alberta. It was tested in late 2007 and began permanent operation this summer. The toaster-sized laser emitter is mounted 70 m off the ground inside the exhaust stack, shooting a beam of invisible infrared light across the stack.
“The beam has a power of just 20 milliwatts, 5,000 times less than a 100-watt light bulb but it has a big impact,” said Brian Sinfield of Boreal Laser. “The technology can yield precise measurements of the concentration of CO2 in the flue gas allowing engineers to optimize the plant’s operations.”
Using real-time data from the monitor, operators make daily adjustments to the pressure and temperature of the steam leaving the boiler. Traditionally, adjustments were made once a month based on the evaluations of the coal going into the plant. Those “mass-balance” calculations determine how much carbon is in the coal, as a basis for estimating the total amount of carbon dioxide that will be emitted after the coal is burned.
Genesee 3 is Canada’s first supercritical coal-fired power plant, the 450MW (net) facility is located 40 kilometers southwest of Edmonton. It entered service in 2005.
About Capital Power
Capital Power is a growth-oriented North American independent power producer, building on more than a century of innovation and reliable performance. The company’s vision is to be recognized as one of North America’s most respected, reliable and competitive power generators. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Capital Power has interests in 31 facilities in Canada and the U.S. totaling approximately 3,300 megawatts of generation capacity. Capital Power and its subsidiaries develop, acquire and optimize power generation from a wide range of energy sources.
About Boreal Laser
Boreal Laser is a world-leading developer and manufacturer of laser based gas detectors. From its base in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Boreal has supplied laser gas detection systems for environmental and process control improvement to clients in 40 countries around the world over the past 12 years.
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities laws. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding the operating performance of power plants and emissions monitoring technology. Where statements by Capital Power express or imply an expectation or belief as to future events or results, such expectation or belief is expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis. However, forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed, projected or implied by such forward-looking statements. Capital Power expressly disclaims any obligation to release publicly revisions to any forward looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this news release, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.