Funding being sought for what would be largest CCS installation at a coal-fired unit in the world
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Combustion Industry News Editor
Minnkota Power Cooperative is seeking to raise US$1 billion (€923 million) to build what would become the world’s largest carbon capture and storage facility associated with a power plant. The installation, known as Project Tundra, would be at the larger 455 MW coal-fired unit of the Milton R. Young Station in North Dakota, USA, with the desired capture ratio being 90% of the CO2 from the unit’s flue gas. Amine-based absorption is the envisaged technology for the facility, similar to that employed at Petra Nova in Texas and Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, Canada, but no enhanced oil recovery is being considered – instead, storage of the captured carbon dioxide would be within sandstone rocks that lie more than a mile (1.6 km) below a nearby lignite mine. The project will rely upon Section 45Q tax credits to be economic (estimated to generate US$2.1 billion over the facility’s lifetime), which would also possibly help explain why Project Tundra is being pushed now, after four years of planning (IRS guidance on 45Q credits only recently being released). Curiously, Milton R. Young Station is over 40 years old, meaning that the project will likely have to incorporate upgrades of the unit itself, adding to the expense. Estimates by David Schlissel of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis suggest that the parasitic load on the plant will increase from something between 5-9% to something in the low 30%s, tripling the cost of the electricity from US$30/MWh to $96/MWh. It is thought that financing will take two years to arrange for the project, and construction will take another three years, meaning Project Tundra, if it goes ahead and goes smoothly, could be ready by 2025.