Estevan mayor invites Elon Musk to tour Saskatchewan carbon capture facility

The city of Estevan is hoping to catch the attention of Tesla and SpaceX creator Elon Musk in a recent contest he announced on social media. AP Photo/John Raoux, File

Estevan’s mayor has written a letter trying to catch the attention of Elon Musk and invite him to tour the Carbon Capture Facility (CCS).

The invitation is in response to a tweet sent out by Musk in search of the best carbon capture technology.

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Mayor Roy Ludwig’s letter details the technology that is used at the CCS.

“When we first saw the tweet and heard about the XPRIZE contest, we knew we had the opportunity to showcase this world class technology and promote the environmental and economic benefits that this facility has brought our city,” Ludwig wrote in a press release.

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The CCS is connected to the retrofitted 120 MW Power Unit #3 at Boundary Dam, located 200 kilometres southeast of Regina.

The facility captures the carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of allowing it to be released into the air, reducing carbon emissions from the coal-fired power unit. The City of Estevan said this produces a clean and reliable energy source.

“The CCS is capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – the equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road,” the city wrote in a press release.

In addition, the city said that SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3 (BD3) is the “world’s first fully integrated and full-chain CCS facility on a coal-fired power plant.”

In an interview with Global News, Ludwig said that the city is hoping to apply this technology to two other units. He’s also hoping this social media campaign will catch the attention of the federal government and show them “how well (carbon capture technology) works.”

“We would love Mr. Musk to come back to Saskatchewan. We would love to show him around our communities, all the amenities we have to offer and especially the clean coal carbon sequestration plant at Boundary Dam,” Ludwig said.

Musk has ties to Saskatchewan as his mother was born in the province.

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Ludwig said he is still waiting on a response from the billionaire.

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In his letter to Musk, Ludwig wrote that this technology must be seen in person to “appreciate” the potential it has to make an impact globally.

“That being said, our community would love to welcome you back to the 306, hook you up with a new bunny hug, a ‘Riders hat and show you why Saskatchewan is the place to invest in now and into the future,” Ludwig wrote.

A total of US$100 million is up for grabs in the contest and is funded by Musk. The competition will last for four years through Earth Day 2025.

Competitors must meet several criteria, including having a working carbon removal prototype capable of removing at least one ton per day.

After 18 months, the 15 top teams chosen by judges will receive $1 million each. The grand prize winner will take home $50 million, and the second- and third-place winners will take home $20 million and $10 million, respectively.

A total of 25 student scholarships will also be doled out at $200,000 for student teams participating.

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