Lignite Industry Looks to Using Carbon Capture Technology - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Lignite Industry Looks to Using Carbon Capture Technology

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EPA regulations could mean big changes for North Dakota's lignite industry. With the possibility of limiting carbon emission for both new and old plants, the industry is looking for a solution. And that solution could be carbon capture technology.

Carbon capture and sequestration technology sounds a little a complicated. But when simplified it means removing carbon dioxide from the gas that is created when burning coal in a power plant.  

That carbon can then be captured, stored under ground or used for advanced oil recovery. The only catch, is that the cost can run into the millions, and some say the technology is not financially viable, at least not for the next few years.

"The technology has a long way to go. The costs that are involved and with the future mandates coming down from the EPA. I feel that any future coal fired power plant is gonna have issues trying to be able to come up with carbon capture," says BSC NECE Professor, Howell Flowers.

Yet despite the cost, there are several small systems already in use.

"I think that in the future if you're going to continue to build coal generation, you're going to absolutely have carbon capture utilization and storage as part of that technology. If you continue to use coal we have to capture the carbon and find use for it, for oil recovery is I think the best use right now," says PSC Commissioner, Brian Kalk.

Here in North Dakota, the Dakota Gasification plant captures and sells CO2 before burning coal using a series of chemicals. The carbon is then sent  through a 205-mile pipeline to Saskatchewan to be used for enhanced oil recovery in oil fields.

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