Canada’s Cenovus Energy has signed a contract with US-based FuelCell Energy to undertake a study of carbon capture from a gas-fired turbine.

The project aims to evaluate the benefits of capturing carbon dioxide from the flue gas of boilers used to produce steam in oil sands production, the companies said.  

Under the terms of the agreement, the firms will undertake the preliminary front-end design and engineering necessary to fit a fuel cell system to an existing 14 MW gas-fired turbine, part of a working cogeneration plant (pictured, diagram) which provides power and heat for the University of Calgary campus in Alberta, Canada.

The system will process the flue gas into the fuel cell air system, where CO2 is transferred across the fuel cell membrane for concentration in the exhaust stream during power generation. The companies aim to separate out 75 per cent of the CO2 from the flue gas.

In addition, they noted that around 70 per cent of NOx emissions in the flue gas are destroyed in the fuel cell power generation process.

The project is a joint industry endeavour under the rubric of Canada’s Oil Sands Alliance, which focuses on improving environmental performance.