The US Department of Energy says the country has moved a step closer to developing the most advanced clean coal technology yet.

The department announced this week that Phase II of an agreement with FutureGen Industrial Alliance has begun, progressing further towards making commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technology.
FutureGen Industrial Alliance with USDEA

The development promises to dramatically reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The initiative came about in September 2010, when then U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the department has signed cooperative agreements with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance and Ameren Energy Resources, committing $1bn in Recovery Act funding to build FutureGen 2.0.

FutureGen 2.0’s goal is to “help to position the United States as a leader in innovative technologies for reducing carbon emissions from existing coal fired power plants,” the Department of Energy reported.

The project will involve upgrading a coal-fired power plant in Meredosia, Ill., with oxy-combustion technology that will capture 90 per cent of the plant’s carbon emissions — more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

According to the department, the oxy-combustion approach involves extracting oxygen from air before combustion, reducing the cost of carbon capture at the exhaust stack.

The CO2 will then be transported underground at a nearby storage site.

FutureGen Industrial Alliance will now begin preliminary design, pre-construction and engineering of the retrofitted, near-zero emission coal fired power plant, the department reported.

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