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Environment

DOE Finalizes Gasification Plant

by Jeffrey W. Johnson
October 4, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 40

The Department of Energy last week formally committed $1 billion for a new, redefined FutureGen demonstration coal-fired gasification power plant to be built in Illinois. The funds will come from the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009 and will be used to retrofit a 30-year-old, 200-MW oil-fired power plant in Meredosia, Ill. The modifications will make it capable of gasifying coal and separating and concentrating CO2 with oxy-combustion technology, a promising retrofit technology for coal-fired power plants. Originally, the FutureGen program was to build a state-of-the-art coal gasification power plant in Illinois that would capture and inject underground 90% of its CO2 emissions. That project was canceled by the George W. Bush Administration because costs grew and few industrial partners were willing to put up matching funds. However, the Illinois congressional delegation successfully lobbied DOE to bring the funds, the jobs, and the technological development possibilities to the state. Along with the retrofitted plant, the program now includes a geologic sequestration research complex, a craft labor training center, and a regional CO2 storage site yet to be identified in downstate Illinois, according to DOE.

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