FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress

THE revamped FutureGen project took a significant step towards becoming reality this week with the signing of a $US533 million cooperative agreement between the FutureGen Alliance and the US Department of Energy.
FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress FutureGen 2.0 continues positive progress

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

Donna Schmidt

FutureGen 2.0, a redesign of plans initially introduced in 2003 but shelved last year, is expected to be the first large-scale oxy-combustion repowering project using carbon capture and storage technology.

Under the new agreement, the FutureGen Alliance will work alongside Ameren Energy Resources to develop the plant.

The alliance will have primary management responsibility to site, develop and operate a permanent CO2 storage site along with the facility’s needed pipeline.

The CO2 pipeline will extend from the project’s home in Meredosia, Illinois, to the storage site, which is expected to permanently sequester more than 1 million tons of CO2 annually, with room for future expansion.

The FutureGen Alliance will also establish a CCS visitor, research and training facility at the project site.

"FutureGen 2.0 will develop oxy-combustion technology that can repower the world's fleet of coal-fueled power plants in a manner that largely eliminates their CO2 emissions and spurs job creation,” Alliance chief executive officer Ken Humphreys said.

“It will create the world's first permanent CO2 storage hub and substantially advance the science of CCS. Through FutureGen 2.0, the FutureGen Alliance will continue with its mission of advancing clean-coal technology integrated with CCS.”

The alliance said it will announce a competitive process in the next few weeks for the selection of the storage site’s host location. The support facilities will also be established at the chosen site.

According to the group, the ideal host location will provide Mt. Simon sandstone access in which the facility’s CO2 will be stored.

"We are excited to move forward with our partners … on the next step toward building a near-zero emission facility – a generating plant that will serve as an invaluable testing ground for these critical new clean energy technologies," Ameren president Charles Naslund said.

The alliance and the DOE announced the new plans in early August, when US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senator Dick Durbin announced $1 billion in Recovery Act funding for its construction.

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

FutureGen 2.0 is planned for Meredosia, Illinois, where it is estimated about 900 jobs will be created.

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 per cent CO2 capture and eliminate most Sox [sulfur oxide], NOx [nitrous oxide], mercury and particulate emissions,” the Department of Energy said earlier this year.