Illinois EPA takes comment on FutureGen 2.0 water permitting

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comment until Nov. 8, with an Oct. 9 public hearing planned, on a revised water permit needed for the FutureGen 2.0 project, which would be a partial repowering of the shut Meredosia power plant.

The agency has issued a draft modified National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for Ameren Energy Generating Co. for discharge into the Illinois River from the Meredosia Energy Center at Meredosia, Ill.

“The applicant is proposing the operation of a 168 MW steam electric generating station using an oxycombustion boiler,” said an IEPA notice. “The proposed station would consist of three groups: a new Air Separation Unit (ASU) that supplies near-pure oxygen to the boiler for combustion, an oxycombustion boiler and a Gas Quality Control System (GQCS) with a circulating dry scrubber, fabric filter, and a direct contact cooler polishing system (DCCPS), and a Compression and Purification Unit (CPU) that separates carbon dioxide from the other flue gasses in preparation for pipeline transport.”

The Oct. 9 public hearing on the draft permit is to be held at the Meredosia-Chambersburg Jr / Sr High School in Meredosia.

The project backer, the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, is a non-profit corporation engaged by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under a federal financial assistance award to implement the DOE’s FutureGen 2.0 Program. The FutureGen 2.0 Program will develop, repower, own and operate the Meredosia Energy Center and the integrated CO2 pipeline and storage facility in Morgan County, Ill.

FutureGen 2.0 was initiated in October 2010 by DOE, which has committed more than $1bn in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and other appropriations for research, development and demonstration activities of oxy-combustion and CO2 capture, transportation, and storage.

The oxycombustion project will retrofit and repower with a near-zero emissions oxy-combustion process utilizing the Unit 4 steam turbine generator, certain coal-based infrastructure associated with Units 1-3, and some of the site’s common facilities. The project will use a blend of high-sulfur Illinois bituminous coal (60%) and low-sulfur Powder River Basin (PRB) coal (40%) and have a gross output capacity of 176.3 MW, which includes an approximate 8 MW capacity increase that results from a steam turbine upgrade.

The CO2 storage project will transport the captured CO2 about 30 miles in a newly-constructed pipeline from the Meredosia site to the proposed storage facility in Morgan County. The CO2 storage facility is being designed to accept approximately 22 million tonnes of CO2 over a 20-year period from the oxy-combustion project.

Companies involved in the project include The Babcock & Wilcox Co. for the plant itself, Air Liquide for the CO2 part of the project and URS for the balance of plant. The alliance would buy the needed Meredosia assets from Ameren Energy Generating, a unit of Ameren (NYSE: AEE). Meredosia is not one of the coal plants in Illinois that Ameren has a pending deal to sell to Dynegy (NYSE: DYN).

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.