Image credit: Global CCS Institute

A refinery and a fertiliser plant connected to the now operational Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) have become the world’s 20th and 21st large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in operation.

The ACTL carbon capture, utilisation and storage system, announced as fully operational, utilises and stores CO2 captured at the North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien’s Redwater Fertilizer Facility.

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The two projects have a combined capture and storage capacity of almost 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 per annum (mtpa).

“We welcome this significant milestone of CCS deployment. It is also exciting to see the next wave of CCS projects commencing as we are moving to decarbonising industrial areas through CCS hubs and clusters. There are 51 large-scale facilities globally – now 21 in operation, two under construction, and 28 in various stages of development with an estimated combined capture capacity of just over 100 million tonnes of CO2 per annum”, said Brad Page, CEO of the Global CCS Institute, a think tank which tracks global, large-scale CCS projects in its co2re.co database.

The ACTL is a 240 km pipeline that transports CO2 to ageing oil fields for secure and permanent geologic storage via enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The pipeline offers transport services and is owned and operated by Wolf Midstream while Enhance Energy will be the owner and operator of the CO2 utilisation and storage part of the facility. The pipeline can transport up to 14.6 mtpa of CO2.

Currently transporting about 1.6 mtpa, the system’s capacity indicates the potential for other industrial facilities to capture their CO2 and use the ACTL’s transport network, reducing risk and cost. At full capacity, the ACTL could become the largest carbon capture and storage system in the world.

“This is just the beginning,” said Jeff Pearson, President of Wolf Midstream’s Carbon Business Unit. “The future of energy and a lower carbon economy relies on key infrastructure like the ACTL”.

Kevin Jabusch, CEO of Enhance Energy, added “We are putting CO2 to use. We permanently keep CO2 out of the environment, while producing low-carbon energy. Not only are we reinvigorating our rural energy economy at a time when it is needed most, but we are playing a key role in advancing a sustainable solution to global energy requirements.”

In August 2019, the Gorgon facility in Australia became the 19th CCS facility. By 2050 approximately 2000 facilities are expected to be needed to meet climate and energy-related sustainable development goals, according to the International Energy Agency.

Hubs and clusters, like the ACTL providing transportation and storage infrastructure for multiple sources of CO2, are largely regarded as the next wave of CCS projects. These projects unbundle the capture, transportation, and storage of CO2, reducing project risk and cost, and allowing each project party to focus on their core competencies, while also enabling further capture sources to be connected.

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