DOE takes comment on draft environmental review of FutureGen 2.0

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is taking public comment until June 17, with a May 21 hearing planned, on the draft environmental impact statement for the FutureGen 2.0 oxy-combustion coal project in Illinois.

The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzes the potential impacts associated with the FutureGen 2.0 Project, which would be designed, constructed, operated, and partially funded by the FutureGen Industrial Alliance. In addition to Alliance funding, FutureGen 2.0 may receive about $1bn in federal financial assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

DOE plans a public hearing on the draft EIS on May 21 at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, Ill., near the project site.

DOE said in a May 3 Federal Register notice that it proposes to provide financial assistance (approximately $1bn), through two cooperative agreements. FutureGen 2.0 is a public-private partnership formed for the purpose of developing and sharing the cost of the world’s first commercial-scale oxy-combustion electricity generation plant integrated with CO2 capture and storage. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Air Liquide Process and Construction, among others, would participate in the project by supplying technology, major components, and construction services.

The project would use oxy-combustion technology to generate electric power and would capture CO2 for permanent storage underground. The plant would generate 168 MW (gross) of electricity. The Alliance is currently going through an Illinois Commerce Commission proceeding related to the sale of this power into the deregulated Illinois market.

The Alliance would design and construct the plant to capture at least 90% of the CO2 generated (up to 98% could be captured). Captured CO2 would be transported through a 30-mile pipeline to a facility where it would be injected into the Mount Simon formation for permanent storage. This saline rock formation is approximately 4,000-4,500 feet below ground. The project would be designed to capture, transport, and inject approximately 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 annually, or a total of approximately 33 million metric tons over 30 years of operation.

The Alliance would also construct and operate a visitor and research center and training facilities related to carbon capture and storage in the vicinity of Jacksonville.

The DOE-funded demonstration period would last for 56 months, from the start of operations (planned for July 2017) through February 2022, but the plant is expected to continue commercial operations after this date.

The oxy-combustion plant would be built on a 263-acre existing power plant site in Morgan County, approximately one mile south of the village of Meredosia. Ameren Energy Resources has agreed to sell to the Alliance the assets at the shut Meredosia Energy Center that are necessary for the FutureGen 2.0 Project. These assets include Unit 4, which was constructed in 1975. The Unit 4 steam turbine, material and fuel handling facilities, process water sources, cooling systems, high-voltage interconnection lines, and certain other facilities would be used for the new plant. Ameren would continue to own the three other units at the Meredosia Energy Center. Operation of these units has been suspended since 2011.

The CO2 storage site would be located 30 miles east of the plant site, on the eastern side of Morgan County. A new 12-inch diameter pipeline would be sited and constructed using an 80-foot construction right-of-way and a 50-foot permanent right-of-way. The Alliance has identified two possible routes for the pipeline. It has not identified a final location for the proposed injection wells, but has identified an approximately 5,300-acre site in which the wells would be located and under which the CO2 would be permanently stored. Up to 25 acres of land would be used for the injection facilities, associated infrastructure and buildings, and access roads.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.