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: