Chicago Clean Energy project provides environmental benefits

CHICAGO, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Chicago Clean Energy, a proposed modern coal-gasification plant will pursue one of the most stringent air permits ever issued for an energy facility and will enable the clean-up of an existing 140-acre brownfield site on Chicago’s Southeast Side, pending approval of authorizing legislation by Governor Patrick Quinn.

“There is no debate that the site will actually be cleaner once the facility is constructed than it is today,” said Dr. Robert Singer, a project manager at Environment and Ecology, Inc., a consultant to Chicago Clean Energy.

The site is located at the former Chicago LTV Steel property, which has been found to have dangerous soil contaminants. “This clean-up represents an immediate, up-front benefit to the community by restoring and renewing a dangerous site that has existed in the neighborhood for decades,” said Singer.

The facility will also operate under the country’s most stringent emission standards, exceeding proposed EPA greenhouse gas limits by capturing of 85 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Expected air permit limits for Chicago Clean Energy will be more restrictive than those issued to the Art Institute of Chicago or Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“No one would object to the potential impact of those facilities,” said Hoyt Hudson, project manager of Chicago Clean Energy. “When it comes to emissions of impurities, we will be held to an even higher standard.”

The Chicago Clean Energy technology uses a chemical process – without burning coal or other feedstock – to produce substitute natural gas and capture and remove impurities. Removing the component elements like sulfur, argon, and mercury is essential to producing the substitute natural gas. These additional products can be safely reused in construction, agriculture and manufacturing, or safely disposed of, rather than being released.

“We agree that we have to find new, cleaner ways to generate energy for our economy,” said Hudson.  “Gasification not only limits emissions as part of the actual process, but it also turns these pollutants into profits.  It’s good for the environment and it cuts costs for consumers.”

The Chicago Clean Energy project has been vetted by the State of Illinois over a five-year process, during which time the Governor already has signed four pieces of legislation, each of which passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly by wide margins, with strong statewide support from both political parties. The Governor currently is considering action on SB 3766, which enjoyed similar support in the General Assembly, to implement the prior policy decisions of the General Assembly and the Governor.

“We are hopeful Governor Quinn will approve the measure and put Illinois at the forefront of new clean energy technology,” said Ted Stanlos, president of the Calumet Area Industrial Council.  “We need this project to help revitalize our community and we ask that Governor Quinn move this project forward immediately.”