FuelCell Energy has announced a contract with Alberta innovates for an engineering study on a fuel cell carbon capture application at a Husky Energy-owned heavy oil thermal facility near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Under the contract, FuelCell Energy will develop and prove the application for a carbon capture configured megawatt-class fuel cell power plant to simultaneously concentrate and capture carbon while producing ultra-clean power.

Alberta Innovates will lead the project as part of a consortium effort with Husky Energy and MEG Energy as well as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) members BP, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy, Devon Canada Corporation, Shell, and Suncor.

“We are dedicated to increasing the value of Alberta’s energy resources by implementing low-carbon technologies that improve the environmental profile and production efficiency of Alberta’s oil sands,” said Dr. Zhihong (John) Zhou, Vice President, Clean Energy, Alberta Innovates. “This fuel cell carbon capture solution can check all three of these boxes, and demonstrates our commitment to achieving our goals.”

“The Canadian oil sands are a key near-term market for carbon capture and we are pleased to provide a potential solution to enhance these oil sands operations with affordable, efficient and clean carbon capture via fuel cells,” said Chip Bottone, CEO, FuelCell Energy, Inc. “We look forward to joining forces with Alberta Innovates to prove this game-changing application and work towards demonstrating the system at commercial-scale for an oil sands application.”

The study will determine how a megawatt-scale FuelCell Energy power plant operating on natural gas can affordably capture up to 43 tonnes of CO2 per day as well as destroy approximately 70% of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the flue gas routed to the fuel cell from the bitumen upgraders. These upgraders convert heavy oil (bitumen) into synthetic crude oil.