Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DOE Finalizes $1 Billion Commitment To FutureGen 2.0

Sep 28:  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has signed final cooperative agreements with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance and Ameren Energy Resources that formally commit $1 billion in Recovery Act funding to build FutureGen 2.0. DOE said the FutureGen 2.0 project will help to position the United States as a leader in innovative technologies for reducing carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. As part of the new initiative, DPE will partner with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance to select an Illinois host community for the carbon storage site as well as a geologic sequestration research complex and a craft labor training center. The site could eventually become a regional CO2 storage site in downstate Illinois. The project partners estimate that FutureGen 2.0 will bring 900 jobs to Illinois and another 1,000 to suppliers across the State.

    Secretary Chu said, "Today's milestone will help ensure the U.S. remains competitive in a carbon constrained economy, creating jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Developing innovative, cost effective carbon capture and storage technologies is critical to the country's transition to a clean energy future." Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said, "This $1 billion federal commitment is a critical step to bringing FutureGen to Illinois. We look forward to demonstrating to the world that we can use one of our greatest natural assets in a way that protects our environment and puts more people to work."

    U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said, "If there was any remaining question as to whether FutureGen is really coming to Illinois, today we have the answer. Soon, we will announce a process to evaluate the more than two dozen Illinois communities that have expressed interest in hosting the sequestration, research and training facilities for FutureGen 2.0. I thank President Obama and Secretary Chu for their leadership on this project and for putting Illinois at the forefront of cutting-edge technology that will improve the environment and create good-paying jobs."

    In August, DOE announced its intention to fund FutureGen 2.0 as part of an integrated strategy to repower America's coal industry [See WIMS 8/20/10]. Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. are leading the project to repower Ameren's 200 megawatt Unit 4 in Meredosia, Illinois with advanced oxy-combustion technology. The plant's new boiler, air separation unit, CO2 purification and compression unit will deliver 90 percent CO2 capture and eliminate most SOx, NOx, mercury, and particulate emissions. The Ameren Energy Resources team estimates that the retrofitting of the plant is expected to create approximately 500 construction jobs and allow Ameren to add approximately 50 workers to the plant staff, once the repowered unit is operational. The FutureGen Industrial Alliance and the Ameren, B&W, and Air Liquide team are developing a technical cooperation agreement to ensure coordination among each element in FutureGen 2.0 and to provide the foundation for rapid commercial deployment for this exciting new technology once this first-of-a-kind facility is operational.

    Ken Humphreys, FutureGen Alliance Chief Executive Officer said, "FutureGen 2.0 will develop oxy-combustion technology that can repower the world's fleet of coal-fueled power plants in a manner that largely eliminates their CO2 emissions and spurs job creation. It will create the world's first permanent CO2 storage hub and substantially advance the science of CCS. Through FutureGen 2.0, the FutureGen Alliance will continue with its mission of advancing clean-coal technology integrated with CCS. We look forward to working with the DOE, the State of Illinois, and the project partners to make FutureGen 2.0 a success."

    The FutureGen Industrial Alliance, working with the State of Illinois, will develop a permanent CO2 sequestration facility, research and visitors facilities, and a labor training center at the site. The Alliance will also build a CO2 pipeline network from Meredosia to the sequestration site. The pipeline and storage site will transport and store more than 1 million tons of captured CO2 per year. The project partners estimate the new pipeline network is expected to create additional construction and permanent jobs. The pipeline network, along with the storage site to be selected in early 2011, will help to lay the foundation for a regional CO2 network. The Illinois storage site will be used to conduct research on site characterization, injection and storage, and CO2 monitoring and measurement.

    DOE said it is working with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, with details to be announced in the coming weeks, to develop a competitive process to select the host for the CO2 storage site, the visitors complex and training center, and vendor(s) to build the pipeline and the injection and monitoring wells. In August DOE said it was encouraging communities that are interested in being considered as a storage site to continue contacting the Agency. The eventual site will need strong geological characteristics, access to acreage pipeline right of ways and subsurface rights on ten square miles of contiguous acreage for sequestration, clear community support, and should be within approximately a 100 mile radius of Meredosia.

    Access a release from DOE (click here). Access a release from the FutureGen Alliance (click here). Access the FutureGen Alliance website (click here). Access the CEQ Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage for additional information (click here).