Four clean technology developers have secured $1bn in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to create a clean coal repowering and carbon dioxide storage network to spur the carbon capture market.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, ‘This investment in the world’s first commercial-scale oxy-combustion power plant will help to open up the over $300bn market for coal unit repowering and position the country as a leader in an important part of the global clean energy economy.’
‘As with the original FutureGen, Mattoon and the state of Illinois are positioned as leaders in innovative technology that can serve as a model for the nation,’ said US Senator Dick Durbin.
The DOE said the project will repower Ameren’s 200MW Unit 4 in Meredosia, Illinois with advanced oxy-combustion technology.
A boiler, air separation unit, carbon dioxide purification and compression unit will be installed, which the DOE said will capture 90 per cent of the carbon dioxide from the plant and eliminate most sulphur and nitrous oxides, as well as mercury and particulate emissions.
The project will also provide performance and emissions data for future commercial guarantees, and establish operating and maintenance experience for future large-scale commercial projects, said the DOE.
The FutureGen Alliance will be primarily responsible for the design of the test programme for the new facility, which will incorporate a broad range of coals and operating conditions to expand the market for this repowering approach.
The project partners will also establish a regional carbon dioxide storage site in Mattoon in the US state of Illinois, in addition to a carbon dioxide pipeline network from Meredosia to Mattoon to transport and store large amounts of the captured gas. The Mattoon site will also be used to conduct research on site characterisation, injection and storage, and monitoring and measurement.
The pipeline network, along with the repository in Mattoon, will lay the foundation for a regional carbon dioxide network.
Oxy-combustion burns coal with a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide instead of air to produce a concentrated carbon dioxide stream for safe, permanent, storage.
The technology creates a near-zero emissions plant by eliminating almost all of the mercury, sulphur oxides, nitric oxides and particulate pollutants from plant emissions.
Studies by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NREL) identified oxy-combustion as the most inexpensive approach for carbon capture and storage and retrofit programmes.
The DOE has also extended the application deadline for the July energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced transmission and distribution technologies solicitation until 5 October 2010, giving companies an extra six weeks to apply for a loan guarantee for such projects. The extension represents the eighth round of solicitations under the DOE’s loan guarantee programme.
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