The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved financing for FutureGen 2.0, clearing a key administrative step for the “clean” coal project based on capture of CO2 emissions. DOE announced plans to fund the $1.68 billion initiative, which plans to capture at least 90% of the CO2 from a 168-megawatt operating coal fired electric power generator near Meredosia, Ill.
FutureGen 2.0 is one of five DOE proposals to demonstrate CO2 capture technology on a commercial scale in the energy sector. While the other proposals involve use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, where the CO2 is used to pump oil out of a field, FutureGen 2.0 would sequester CO2 in an underground saline aquifer. This project involves the redesign of an existing plant rather than construction of a brand new facility. Captured CO2 at the Illinois plant would be transported along a 30-mile pipeline to a storage site in eastern Morgan County, where the gas would be injected approximately 4,000 feet below the surface.
The DOE already had concluded in a final environmental impact statement that FutureGen 2.0 would have “minor” impacts on groundwater, geology, land use and air quality. The project received critical air and water permits from Illinois in December 2013. The project is scheduled to become operational in 2017.
The DOE action constitutes the last step in the National Environmental Policy Act process but does not guarantee the project’s construction. The developers need to complete financial closing and obtain a handful of federal and state permits, including a CO2 storage permit from the EPA.
The DOE’s record of decision for this project can be studied at:
An agreement has been reached between the FSA and the Hydraulic Institute (HI) to sponsor the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) effort to promote an extended product approach for electric motors, pumps, fans and compressors. This would include sealing systems that are components of both pumps and compressors. This initiative began October 2013 and will continue for 18 months with direct access to Utilities that offer rebate programs and the DOE through the FSA Government Affairs Committee.
Discussions on the DOE standards process for electric motors, pumps, fans and compressors, with ACEEE and manufacturers of these products recognized that opportunities for motor system energy savings are much greater than savings from individual components. This led to a suggestion that industry develop a voluntary label for efficiency of an extended product that includes the driven equipment (e.g., fan, pump or compressor), the motor and associated controls. Sealing systems are an important consideration for energy efficiency of both pumps and compressors. This extended product label would provide the relative efficiency of the equipment as it is installed into a motor system application. Testing and labeling specifications for these extended products are being considered as a complement to minimum efficiency performance standards that are established through the DOE rulemaking process.
The energy efficiency community has long been aware of the large opportunity that exists from optimizing motor systems, but the ability of programs to realize these savings have been largely restricted to smaller systems that have very wide application and are easily measured. Larger systems where the savings are of a much larger magnitude (e.g., denominated in 100s of horsepower) require a large investment in analysis and monitoring that is required for a custom rebate program. Prescriptive rebates have been restricted to efficient products, such as NEMA Premium motors, which have modest savings opportunity relative to the system opportunity.