The world’s first carbon capture and storage facility is set to start testing in Saskatchewan and it’s already creating international buzz.

The facility, located near Estevan, Sask.. will take harmful smoke from SaskPower’s coal-burning Boundary Dam and transform the carbon dioxide into sulfuric acid.

The excess waste from the state-of-the-art process will then be injected deep into the ground, where it will be contained.

“This may be one of the answers for the future,” SaskPower manager Mike Zeleny said.

Since 1960, the Boundary Dam has burned coal to create steam to drive turbines and generate nearly 30 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power.

“The power plant itself does produce a lot of CO2 (carbon dioxide) which is one of the key gases that can cause the greenhouse gas and global warming effect,” Zeleny said. 

He added that business people from around the world are taking notice of the capture system.

“It is very exciting because there are so many CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) projects out there in the world, but this is the only one that is actually being constructed on this scale. The whole CCS industry is looking at it with very big enthusiasm,” said Ken Suzuki, a Japanese businessman who toured the operation this week.

Strict government regulations are pushing coal-burning plants to reduce their CO2 outputs.

Federal rules say once a coal-firing generator in Canada reaches 50 years of age, it is obliged to reduce its emissions to match that of natural gas-fuelled units.

SaskPower says the facility, which cost $1.24 billion to build, will have little impact on the environment.

Testing will begin in a couple months and Saskatchewan plans to have the facility fully operational by April 2014.

With report from CTV Saskatoon’s Creeson Agecoutay