Carbon dioxide capture has become an important component for ensuring reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Even though emission reduction technologies such as electrostatic precipitators (ESP) and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) are in place at most electricity-generating stations today, the large point source emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions, such as heavy metals, to the atmosphere are still fossil fuel electricity-generating stations. When CO2 capture is employed, these emissions can be further reduced. However, despite its important ability to reduce atmospheric emissions, the CO2 capture technology in fact still releases some emissions through its stacks into the air. Since the safety and stability of the CO2 capture technology are fundamental considerations for widespread social acceptance, the potential liability associated with the capture technology is cited as an important barrier to successful CO2 capture implementation. Liability of the technology is further clouded by a failure to clearly define what is at risk, especially regarding human health and safety. This research study will focus on investigating the risks associated with human health and safety resulting from the different versions of the technology including: (i) no capture system, (ii) post-combustion, and (iii) oxy-fuel combustion CO2 capture technology at the Boundary Dam Power Station (BDPS) in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. The research objective of this study was to evaluate the risk to human health associated with the BDPS in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, using the American Meteorological Society’s Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Model (AERMOD) and cancer and non-cancer risk equations. This research presents the air dispersion modeling of the conventional lignite-fired electricity generation station at the BDPS, the inclusion of post-combustion CO2 capture technology, and the oxy-fuel carbon dioxide capture process. The heavy metals were measured near the power plant located in Estevan, Saskatchewan. This study shows that the emissions from the three stacks posed cancer risks of less than one chance in a million (1 × 10−6). There were only two emissions from the “no capture” scenario that caused inhalation cancer risks of more than 1 × 10−6. In terms of non-cancer risks, the pollutant’s concentration from the three stacks was unlikely to cause any non-cancer health effects.
Part of the book: Greenhouse Gases