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Canada and Alberta Launch Carbon Capture and Storage Initiative

The governments of Canada and Alberta will lead a national effort to assess technology for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, and the Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, announced the formation of a Canada-Alberta ecoENERGY Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force to recommend the best ways for Canada to implement the technology on a large scale.

Building on existing work such as the CO2 Capture and Storage Technology Roadmap released last year by Natural Resources Canada (earlier post), the Task Force will develop and build support for a comprehensive blueprint for implementing a large-scale CCS system in Canada. It will identify and assess current obstacles that are preventing more widespread adoption of CCS, and outline actions, roles and responsibilities for the federal and provincial governments, industry, and other stakeholders.

Based on that examination, the Task Force is to provide a comprehensive set of options describing how government and industry can work together to take advantage of those opportunities.

Canada finds well situated to take advantage of and enhance its global leadership on this technology. With the booming oil sands, Western Canada has large concentrations of CO2 being produced in close proximity to large storage opportunities, with longer-term potential available elsewhere in Canada.

The task force is to be headed by Steven Snyder, a former GE executive who is now CEO of TransAlta Corp., a Calgary-based power company that operates coal-fired plants.

The other task force members include:

  • David Keith, University of Calgary. Roughly half of his technical and policy work addresses the capture and storage of CO2, including work managing the risks of geologic storage and services in his work as chair of a crosscutting group for the IPCC special report on CO2 storage.

  • Kathy Sendall, Senior Vice President of Petro Canada. She is responsible for the company’s oil and gas exploration and production in North America.

  • Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada. His responsibilities include the executive oversight of a 4,500-kilometer petroleum pipeline system that transports production from the Alberta oilsands to British Columbia and the United States.

  • Patricia Youzwa, President and CEO SaskPower.

  • Cassie Doyle, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada. (ex-officio)

  • Dan McFadyen, Deputy Minister Alberta Energy. (ex-officio)



win, win for Alberta. They can use this to get Federal money to help build a CO2 infrastructure which they will use for EOR, which will generate more oil revenues.

Warren Heath

Its amazing how reckless Government’s and Environmentalist's are when it comes to CO2 sequestration, while when it comes to nuclear waste they're not happy with billions of dollars in studies and buried in granite that has been stable for 500 million years.

Maybe 100 years in the future, there will be a city of a million people sitting on top of one of those CO2 chambers, when an earthquake releases it, and you have a million dead people on your hands.

The best thing to do is first off don't build anymore coal power plants (Ontario has already declared its intention to close all coal power plants), secondly capture CO2 from industrial or power plants and combined with water & green electricity, produce liquid fuels like methanol & ethanol. Western Alberta has large surpluses of peak wind energy that could be used for this purpose. See:

Rafael Seidl

Warren -

I suspect Alberta is more interested in dealing with the negative PR of its highly lucrative tar sands operations than with coal-fired power stations.

Wrt sequestration: while expensive, CO2 stored in spent natural gas fields should stay there for a long time. After all, the gas did, in spite of earthquakes. Similar claims have been made for storing CO2 in brine aquifers.

However, your point is well taken: those advocating CO2 sequestration stand to benefit from the continued production of fossil fuels. Therefore, they - and the politicians and researchers they fund - have a vested interest in interpreting the data with rose-tinted glasses. Surely, the safest form of sequestration available is the one mother nature has already implemented: leave fossil fuels in the ground and switch to biofuels.

The snag is that these are not only quite expensive, they also undermine the established business model for the oil & gas and coal industries, i.e. dig a hole in the ground and start printing money. Making the switch therefore requires financial sacrifices from consumers and industry alike plus politicians with backbones. All of which are in relatively short supply.


Warren Heath

That algae idea sounds excellent, if it is economical. The fact is current methods, or proposed methods, be they biodiesel, corn ethanol or cellulosic ethanol, are horrendously wasteful and inefficient, environmentally destructive, and often a crime against the poor who need the food crops. The simple fact is it is much more efficient to simply dry and burn plants in a thermal power plant for electricity, then to ferment them into alcohol or extract biodiesel.

Other than that, the need is to transfer 100% of the carbon in plants to the carbon in liquid fuels, namely methanol and ethanol, and that means using the Fischer Tropsch process.

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