Issue Date: February 4, 2008
DOE restructures Clean-Coal Project
After abandoning plans for FutureGen, the "world's first coal-fueled, zero emissions" power plant, the Department of Energy says it is restructuring the project. It will instead provide funding for the addition of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to proposed commercial-scale clean-coal facilities across the country that will be operational by 2015. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman calls the revised approach an "all-around better investment" for the U.S. He says technological advancements since the FutureGen project was first announced in 2003 will at least double the amount of CO2 sequestered compared with the amount that would have been captured and stored by the research facility originally planned for Mattoon, Ill. The Administration's fiscal 2009 budget proposal will seek $648 million for DOE's advanced coal technology research program, including $156 million for the restructured FutureGen project. DOE had envisioned FutureGen as a prototype coal-gasification plant that would produce both electricity and hydrogen with virtually no air pollution, while pumping CO2 underground for permanent storage. In recent years, the project's estimated cost had almost doubled from $950 million to about $1.75 billion.
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