DOE Commits $1Bln to FutureGen

The Obama administration believes carbon capture works. How else to explain yesterday’s news that the Department of Energy would commit $1 billion to support the FutureGen Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in southern Illinois.

?Today?s milestone will help ensure the U.S. remains competitive in a carbon constrained economy, creating jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution,” says Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a prepared statement. He adds: ?Developing innovative, cost effective carbon capture and storage technologies is critical to the country?s transition to a clean energy future.?

The funding is actually not a surprise. Despite growing doubts on whether “clean coal” even works, the Obama administration has been a steadfast supporter of CCS and specifically, FutureGen, which is expected to cost more than $2 billion to develop.

While attractive on paper, CCS remains largely unproven technology. The major issue is that so far no one knows what happen over the long-term when you bury? large quantities of CO2 deep inside the earth’s crust.

Companies involved in the FutureGen project include,? Ameren Energy Resources, engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction. The companies are working to repower Ameren?s 200 megawatts Unit 4 Meredosia power plant, in southern Illinois. If certain environmental hurdles are passed Ameren expects construction on the CCS facility to start in 2012 and end in 2015.

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