US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and US Senator Dick Durbin announced the awarding of $1 billion in Recovery Act funding to the FutureGen Alliance, Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. to build FutureGen 2.0, an advanced coal repowering program and carbon dioxide (CO2) storage network.
With the funds announced today, the partner recipients will 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% CO2 capture and eliminate most SOx, NOx, mercury, and particulate emissions.
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 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 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.