Clean Coal Project Gets $1 Billion Government Grant
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced yesterday that the government would be awarding a $1 billion grant to FutureGen, a public-private partnership that plans to retrofit an Ameren plant in Meredosia, Illinois with new technology so that it produces clean coal, or coal that is made with almost zero emissions of greenhouse gases.
FutureGen is planning to make clean coal possible by employing a process called oxy-combustion, which means that the coal is burned using a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide, rather than air. This method eliminates nearly all of the particulate pollutants associated with the production of energy from coal. Retrofitting the Illinois power plant to produce clean coal is expected to cost approximately $1.2 billion total, and construction is slated to begin next year. The proposed power plant would be the first clean coal plant in the world.
FutureGen's goal with this project is to capture 90% of the carbon dioxide released from coal-fired power plants. If it succeeds in this endeavor, the company then hopes to help as many as 594 other coal-fired power plants in the U.S. switch to producing clean coal by retrofitting them with oxy-combustion technology.