Friday, March 6, 2009

$1 Billion Resurrects FutureGen Project in Mattoon, Illinois

The stimulus package inclueded $1 billion for "fossil energy research and development," which is really an earmark for the FutureGen project--clean coal project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The project was abruptly killed lin 2008 by the Bush administration. The FutureGen plant will be a commercial-size power plant in Mattoon, Illinois, a town of 17,000 people. It would produce 275 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 150,000 homes. Mattoon has the right geology with a natural sandstone formation underneath that could serve as an ideal trap to keep carbon dioxide emissions stored underground.

Instead of releasing the resulting carbon dioxide emissions into the air as pollution, the plant would pump them into deep geologic formations thousands of feet below Earth's surface. The project's goal is to test and develop affordable technology, on a commercial scale, that can remove 90 percent of emissions produced by coal plants. The plant would be built with a group of private coal and utility companies known as the FutureGen Alliance. The FutureGen plant is expected to create jobs as many as 11,000 workers. The alliance must compete for the stimulus funds. (Wash Post)

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