DOE signs off on funding for FutureGen 2.0 coal project in Illinois

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said Jan. 15 that, based on a record of decision issued Jan. 13, it has decided to provide financial assistance to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance for the coal-fired FutureGen 2.0 Project.

The record of decision approves the final environmental impact statement for the 168-MWe project, to be built as a partial repowering of the shut Meredosia power plant in Illinois.

DOE will provide about $1bn of cost-shared through cooperative agreements with the Alliance. The FutureGen 2.0 Project is a public-private partnership formed for the purpose of developing the world’s first commercial-scale, oxy-combustion electric generation project integrated with carbon capture and geologic storage.

The Alliance, cooperating with Ameren Energy Resources, will upgrade one unit in a power plant currently owned by Ameren near Meredosia, Ill. The repowered unit will include oxy-combustion and carbon capture technologies designed to capture at least 90% of its CO2 emissions during steady-state operation and reduce other emissions to near zero.

The captured CO2 will be transported through an approximately 30-mile pipeline to wells where it will be injected around 4,000 feet below ground into a geologic saline formation for permanent storage. The project will be designed to capture, transport, and inject about 1.2 million tons of CO2 annually, and up to a total of 24 million tons over approximately 20 years.

The repowered unit would include oxy-combustion and carbon capture technologies provided by the Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Air Liquide Process and ConstructionMembers of the Alliance include some of the largest coal producers, coal users, and coal equipment suppliers in the world.

The DOE-funded demonstration period will last for 56 months from the start of operations (approximately 2017) through 2022.

The Alliance still needs to work through various issues, including the fact that the Sierra Club in December 2013 filed suit to force Ameren Energy Resources and the Alliance to get a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) air permit for the project. The Clean Air Act lawsuit, filed Dec. 9 at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, says that Ameren proposes construction at Meredosia’s Boiler #7 without first obtaining a prevention of PSD permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authorizing that construction, without meeting emission limits that are “best available control technology,” without installing appropriate technology to control emissions of NOx, SO2, particulate matter, and other pollutants as required by the Act, and without making a determination that emissions increases from the modifications would not cause or contribute to a violation of any National Ambient Air Quality Standard or applicable maximum allowable increases.

A check of the court docket shows that the companies had not filed an answer to that lawsuit as of Jan. 16.

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.