GHG EPA: Co-gen technology producing electricity and steam

Gas Turbine Once Through Steam Generators

Gas Turbine Once Through Steam Generators (GT-OTSG) are a fit-for-purpose co-generation technology that produce electricity at the same time as steam. The result reduces operators’ reliance on electricity from Alberta’s power grid and may even enable them to contribute electricity to help meet the electrical needs of others.

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GHG Director Update

Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews
Director, Greenhouse Gases EPA

Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, utilization and storage—or CCUS— gets a lot of attention as industries look for ways to manage greenhouse gases (GHG) from their operations. Capture and storage of CO2 emissions is expected to play an important role in reducing GHG emissions globally. 

“CCUS technologies are set to significantly improve global GHG emissions, allowing us to pull CO2 from the emissions of oil sands operations, convert it into something else, put it to use, or store it safely away,” says Jonathan Matthews, director of the GHG Environmental Priority Area.  

COSIA and member companies in the GHG EPA have already identified a number of promising CO2 capture technologies. In 2015, Shell implemented the first fully integrated carbon capture and storage project in the oil sands industry. Quest has already captured, transported and stored more than a million tonnes of CO2.  

And there is a significant international innovation community working to make CCUS opportunities a bigger piece of the solution puzzle. In a study with London’s Imperial College, COSIA is discovering new adsorbents to gather CO2 from the exhaust of equipment that produces steam for in situ oil sands production. COSIA members are eager to collaborate with these global experts to accelerate the pace of deployment and reduce GHG emissions worldwide. 

Capturing CO2 is only part of the puzzle. Once captured, the gas needs to be transported and either stored in reservoirs or “put to use,” with or without conversion. Among the efforts, COSIA is looking into a pipeline for moving CO2 once it is contained, and working with Carbon Management Canada (CMC) to better understand the opportunity for long-term, stable and safe storage.  

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which launched in November 2015, marked a compelling call to action for CO2 conversion. The project, a US$20 million global incentive prize competition to find ways to turn CO2 into useable products, is currently in its second round with 27 teams from seven countries. The Canadian test centre for the competition was announced recently, which will host the natural gas track finalists testing their technologies at a commercial-scale.  

“COSIA is focused on all parts of this puzzle,” says Jonathan. “From capture to storage and even conversion of CO2 into new useful products, there are technologies being developed that offer great promise to reduce CO2 emissions from oil sands operations.”