BHP Billiton and Canadian electricity provider SaskPower have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to accelerate the global development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to help support coal demand.
Under the agreement, the companies will establish a centre to support research and cut the costs and risks facing global CCS projects.
In 2014, SaskPower opened a CCS project at a coal-fired plant as part of its efforts to capture 90% of carbon emissions from its Boundary Dam plant located near Estevan in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Boundary Dam CCS Project rebuilt a coal-fired generation unit with carbon capture technology to demonstrate the technical, environmental and economic viability of power generation project using the fossil fuel.
BHP Billiton chief commercial officer Dean Dalla Valle said: "To respond effectively to climate change, we must develop and deploy a wide range of low-emissions technologies more quickly than the usual commercial timeframes.
"The individual components of CCS (capture, transport and storage) have been successfully demonstrated for many years, but Boundary Dam is the first power project to bring all these together."
BHP Billiton Canada president Giles Hellyer said: "As the home of our Jansen Potash project, we have a strong connection with and commitment to Saskatchewan and it’s great to see some of the innovative work being done in the region recognised globally as part of such an important effort to reduce the world’s emissions.
"We know there is still much more to be done in CCS, but we are encouraged by the results we are seeing today, and the innovations we are working on for tomorrow.
"The Boundary Dam project offers lessons for all of us and we look forward to being part of it."
During CCS process waste carbon dioxide (CO2) will be captured from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants and would be transported to a storage site, and deposited at a place where it will not enter the atmosphere.
The technology is aimed at avoiding the release of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Image: SaskPower Boundary Dam CCS Project. Photo: courtesy of SaskPower.