While many experts are skeptical about the feasibility and desirability of clean coal technology, the DOE has committed US$1 billion in Recovery Act funds to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance and Ameren Energy Resources to build FutureGen 2.0.
The FutureGen project has been dogged by trouble and doubts about the technology. In fact, in the summer of 2008, the government withdrew from the project, only to change its position in June 2009.
A public-private partnership, FutureGen’s objective is to build the world's first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant.
The project will verify the technical feasibility of producing low-cost electricity and hydrogen from coal while nearly eradicating emissions.
In the process, the program will permit testing and commercialization of technologies focused on generating clean power, capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide, and producing hydrogen.
The FutureGen Alliance, composed of Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc., is working to repower an Ameren 200 coal-fired plant in Meredosia, Illinois with advanced oxy-combustion technology. The plant's new boiler, air separation unit, CO2 purification and compression unit will capture 90% of the CO2 released and eliminate most SOx, NOx, mercury, and particulate emissions.
The next step is selecting an Illinois host community for a carbon storage site, geologic sequestration research complex, and a craft labor training center. The Illinois storage site will be used to research on-site characterization, injection and storage, and CO2 monitoring and measurement. The Alliance will build a CO2 pipeline network from Meredosia to the carbon storage site.
The pipeline and storage site will transport and store more than 1 million tons of captured CO2 annually. The locations for the pipeline and storage site will be chosen in early 2011 and will lay the foundation for a regional CO2 network. These projects are expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Illinois.
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