Introducing FutureGen 2.0

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senator Dick Durbin announced on Friday that $US1 billion in Recovery Act funding has been given for the construction of FutureGen 2.0 in Illinois.
Introducing FutureGen 2.0 Introducing FutureGen 2.0 Introducing FutureGen 2.0 Introducing FutureGen 2.0 Introducing FutureGen 2.0

A vision of the Futuregen power plant, courtesy Department of Energy.

Donna Schmidt

The funding was granted to the FutureGen Alliance along with partners Babcock and Wilcox, Ameren Energy Resources and Air Liquide Process and Construction.

The project, a clean coal repowering program and carbon dioxide storage network, is estimated to bring about 900 jobs to Meredosia, Illinois.

Meredosia is the home of Ameren’s 200 megawatt Unit 4, which the partners anticipate will be retrofitted and repowered with the federal funding.

“The plant’s new boiler, air separation unit, CO2 purification and compression unit will deliver 90 percent CO2 capture and eliminate most Sox [sulfur oxide], NOx [nitrous oxide], mercury and particulate emissions,” the Department of Energy said.

FutureGen 2.0 will replace the FutureGen project initially announced in 2003 and shelved last year.

“Ameren Energy Resources estimates that the retrofitting of the plant is expected to create approximately 500 construction jobs and allow Ameren to recall 50 permanent workers who were laid off last year.”

The agency said FutureGen 2.0 will provide data on performance and emissions that can be used for future commercial guarantees, as well as create operating and maintenance experience for future large-scale commercial projects.

The FutureGen Alliance is designing the facility’s test program, which will incorporate various coal 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 DOE said.

“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 [and] the Mattoon site will be used to conduct research on site characterization, injection and storage and monitoring and measurement.”

Secretary Chu said the proposed FutureGen 2.0 plan remains true to the original spirit of FutureGen by advancing the technology that can help make the US a carbon capture and storage leader.

He said both he and Durbin are planning a site visit in the coming weeks.

“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,” Chu said.

"As with the original FutureGen, Mattoon and the state of Illinois are positioned as leaders in innovative technology that can serve as a model for the nation,” Durbin added.