Plans for new FutureGen moving forward

DESPITE not having a repository site, those involved with the FutureGen 2.0 carbon capture and storage project are moving ahead with plans for the project.
Plans for new FutureGen moving forward Plans for new FutureGen moving forward Plans for new FutureGen moving forward Plans for new FutureGen moving forward Plans for new FutureGen moving forward

An artist's impression of the Futuregen Power Plant, courtesy the Futuregen Alliance.

Donna Schmidt

The Department of Energy said Friday that officials from its agency as well as the state of Illinois, Ameren, Babcock & Wilcox, American Air Liquide and the FutureGen Alliance met in Chicago to discuss the project, which remains on track for obligation before the end of next month.

At that time, the preparation work to repower Ameren’s Unit 4 facility in Meredosia will start, with construction set to begin in 2012.

Simultaneously, the DOE will be conducting site selection for the project’s carbon sequestration research, workforce training facility, visitor center and long-term CO2 repository.

"While we regret Coles County's decision not to participate in this first of its kind carbon capture and storage project, the Mt Simon geological formation extends over much of downstate Illinois and offers many other possible locations for storage,” agency assistant secretary for fossil energy James Markowsky said, referring to the location of the first FutureGen project’s site in Mattoon.

“We are encouraged by the response we've received from interested communities so far and look forward to working with the project team as they select a new sequestration center over the coming months."

The DOE is encouraging communities interested in being considered as a storage site for FutureGen 2.0 to contact them, and is putting together a more formal process for potential sites to submit their interest. For now, it has set up a dedicated email, futuregen2.0@hq.doe.gov.

The chosen site for the project will require strong geological characteristics as well as acreage pipeline right-of-way access.

Subsurface rights for 10 square miles of contiguous acreage for sequestration and “clear community support” will also be needed.

Finally, the eventual location should be located within about a 100-mile radius of Meredosia.

“Any town selected will benefit from jobs created not only for the injection and CO2 monitoring wells, but also from a planned research and visitor complex and workforce training center,” Markowsky said.

“Workers at the visitor and research complex will include the permanent employees responsible for the operation and maintenance of the transport pipeline network from the Meredosia power plant and the CO2 storage facility.

“The state-of-the-art international training center will prepare future operators for careers in coal plant repowering, future CO2 pipeline networks, and storage facility development.”

The DOE has joined forces with the Illinois Geological Survey, through the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), on an assessment of geology in downstate Illinois that is available for storage.

More detailed work on that will be performed this fall.

The MGSC’s work, the agency said, would help to determine storage facility sites and provide those involved with progress on a detailed baseline characterization.

"We look forward to working with the project team to successfully demonstrate this first of its kind commercial scale carbon capture and storage project with oxy-combustion technology," Markowsky said.

"The lessons learned from this project will help to advance pollution reduction and carbon capture and storage from existing coal fired power plants in the US and around the world."

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