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Project Pioneer Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: TransAlta, TransCanada, Alstom, Capital Power and Enbridge

Location: Adjacent to TransAlta's existing Keephills power plant, about 70 km west of Edmonton and 5 kmsouth of Lake Wabamun, Alberta, Canada

Feedstock: Coal (Low sulphur, sub-bituminous coal)

Process: Pulverised coal (PC) supercritical boiler.

Size: 450 MW: 1Mt/yr CO2

Capture Technology: Post- combustion: Chilled ammonia technology

CO2 Fate: Saline Formation and EOR

Timing: Project Cancelled due to financial reasoning.

Original timing: FEED and development work (2010); On-site construction begins (2012); Fully operational project (2015)


The total capital and operating cost of the project was expected to be $1.4 billion.

Transalta was awarded $431 million over 15 years from the Canadian Government through its $2-billion CCS Fund. An additional $5 million will be provided to the project to support front end engineering and design. The Government of Canada is also contributing $343 million toward this project through the Clean Energy Fund and the Federal ecoENERGY Technology Initiative.


Project Pioneer was cancelled on April 27, 2012, after TransAlta, Capital Power and Enbridge backed out of the project quoting that it did not make financial sense. Don Wharton, vice-president of policy and sustainability at TransAlta said “Our decision was essentially based on the fact that we could not see a way to make the economics of our CCS project work as we originally intended.” This decision is a major set back to the Alberta Government's $2 billion CCS program to reduce the states CO2 emissions.

The project was going to take place at the Keephills 3 power plant owned by Capital Power and was already under construction. The CO2 was to be injected about 2,600 to 2,800 meters depth near the plant’s location for permanent storage. Project Pioneer was also going to use the CO2 for EOR. TransAlta and Capital Power are equal partners in the ownership of Keephills 3 power plant, with Capital Power responsible for construction. TransAlta would have operated the facility, and Capital Power and TransAlta were going to independently dispatch and market their share of the unit's electrical output.

On June 2 2011, Keephills started its new turbine, indicating that the opening of the 495 MW power plant is imminent. After the power plant opens it will be retrofitted with the Alstom chilled ammonia CCS technology.

Project Link: Project Pioneer website

Other Sources and Press Releases:
TransAlta and partners bail out on carbon capture project (April 2012)
Keephills turbine turning at Wabamun project (June 2011)
Enbridge joins project to provide pipeline and sequestration expertise (June 2010)
Project Pioneer receives government funding (October 2009)
Alstom and TransAlta launch Project Pioneer (October 2009)
Government of Alberta press release (October 2009)
TransAlta signs deal with Alstom (August 2009)