From a handful of facilities across Alberta and Saskatchewan a few years ago, plans for new carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are popping up quickly.
The most recent announcement, on July 13, 2021, is from Shell Canada Limited. Shell plans to build a large CCUS facility at its Scotford refinery and petrochemical complex near Edmonton, Alberta.
The proposed Polaris CCS project would capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Shell-owned Scotford refinery and chemicals plant. Polaris would have storage capacity of about 300 million tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project.The initial phase is expected to start operation around 2025, subject to a final investment decision by Shell expected in 2023. Construction could create up to 2,000 jobs.
In its first phase, Polaris would capture more than 90 per cent of the CO2 emissions related to hydrogen production in the Scotford refinery hydrogen plants. Carbon dioxide captured from the refinery’s hydrogen plants would produce blue hydrogen for use in the refining process, with the potential for large-scale blue hydrogen production in future phases.
The project is designed in a way that no additional freshwater resources are required for operation. The project could also serve as a third-party storage hub for other facilities in the area that produce CO2. Polaris would join Shell’s other international CCS projects including the Northern Lights CCS project in Norway and the Porthos CCS project in the Netherlands.
The Polaris CCS project follows the success of the Quest CCS facility at Scotford, which has captured and safely stored more than six million tonnes of CO2 in its six years of operation. Shell has also announced plans to support a new B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy, an industry-government collaboration to decarbonize the provincial economy and scale up clean energy, scheduled to launch in autumn 2021. Shell and the B.C. provincial government will each commit $35 million to the centre.