BHP Boosts Carbon-Capture Study With $14 Million Canadian Center

BHP Billiton Ltd. will invest C$20 million ($14.4 million) in a carbon capture and storage research center in central Canada, in a bid to clean up fossil-fuel pollution from power plants.

The world’s largest miner will fund a research center that gathers data from the world’s first large-scale CCS project, a 110-megawatt coal plant operated by Saskatchewan-based energy company SaskPower, according to a statement by BHP Billiton.

CCS is a three-stage process which takes emissions blamed for global warming and transports then stores them underground. It is expected to play a key role in meeting growing demand for power without contributing to climate change, according to the International Energy Agency.

SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Power Station opened in 2014 as the world’s first commercial-scale plant that burns coal while cutting carbon emissions by 90 percent. Elsewhere, CCS is struggling to get off the ground because of its high costs and the lack of mechanisms to finance it. The U.K. government, which is leading on CCS technology, scrapped a 1 billion-pound ($1.4 billion) competition last year, marking a major blow to the emerging technology.

BHP Billiton has previously said it expects to lose almost 2 percent of the value of its assets by 2030 because of the growing number of measures around the world that put a price on pollution, so CCS could provide a solution.

The partnership between the two companies will help “share the benefits of CCS with the world,” Brad Wall, the premier of Saskatchewan, said in a statement.

Talks between the two companies began just after Boundary Dam opened, during the United Nations climate change summit in Lima, said SaskPower President and Chief Executive Mike Marsh.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.