Washington, D.C., August 9, 2010 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced the awarding of $1 billion in Recovery Act funding to the FutureGen Alliance, Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock and Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process and Construction, Inc. to build FutureGen 2.0.
“Today’s announcement will help ensure the U.S. remains competitive in a carbon constrained economy, creating jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution,” said Secretary Chu. “This investment in the world’s first, commercial-scale, oxy-combustion power plant will help to open up the over $300 billion market for coal unit repowering and position the country as a leader in an important part of the global clean energy economy.”
With the funds announced today, the partner recipients will repower Ameren‘s 200 MW 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.
Ameren Energy Resources estimates that the retrofitting of the plant is expected to create about 500 construction jobs and allow Ameren to recall 50 permanent workers who were laid off last year.
This project will also provide performance and emissions data for future commercial guarantees, and establish operating and maintenance experience for future large-scale commercial projects.
The FutureGen Alliance will help design the test program for the new facility to incorporate a broad range of coals and operating conditions to expand the market for this repowering approach.
In addition, the project partners, working with the State of Illinois, will establish a regional CO2 storage site in Mattoon, Illinois and a CO2 pipeline network from Meredosia to Mattoon that 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 275 construction jobs and 75 permanent jobs. The pipeline network, along with the repository in Mattoon, helps to lay the foundation for a regional CO2 network. The Mattoon site will be used to conduct research on site characterization, injection and storage, and monitoring and measurement.
Oxy-combustion burns coal with a mixture of oxygen and CO2 instead of air to produce a concentrated CO2 stream for safe, permanent, storage. In addition, oxy-combustion technology creates a near-zero emissions plant by eliminating almost all of the mercury, SOx, NOx, and particulate pollutants from plant emissions.
The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory studies have identified oxy-combustion as potentially the least cost approach to clean-up existing coal-fired facilities and capture CO2 for geologic storage.