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Department of Energy Awards $71 Million to Accelerate Innovative Carbon Capture Project

September 15, 2009 - 1:00pm


Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that Arizona Public Service (APS), Phoenix, Ariz., has been awarded $70.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to expand an existing industrial and innovative reuse carbon mitigation project.

Arizona Public Service's ongoing algae-based carbon mitigation project, previously selected via competitive solicitation, will be expanded to include testing with a coal-based gasification system. The process aims to minimize production of carbon dioxide when gasifying coal. The host facility for this project is the Cholla Power Plant located in Holbrook, AZ.

Funding for the project expansion falls under the ARRA's $1.52 billion funding for carbon capture and storage from industrial sources.

The APS project is one of two already-existing projects in the industrial carbon capture program administered by DOE's Office of Fossil Energy. The other, previously announced, is a Ramgen Power Systems project to scale-up a device that uses supersonic shockwaves to compress CO2 for capture and storage.

Arizona Public Service will scale up a concept for coproduction of electricity and substitute natural gas via coal gasification, while scaling up an innovative reutilization technology where power plant CO2 emissions are biologically captured by algae and processed into liquid transportation fuels. APS will focus on the engineering aspects of continuous cultivation, harvesting, and processing of algae grown from power plant emissions.

Funding will enable APS to scale up its algae cultivation concept by about two orders of magnitude and scale up its hydrogasification concept by one order of magnitude. Researchers expect that the algae farm will reuse CO2 at a rate of 70 metric tons per acre per year.

This ARRA four-year project will provide economic stimulus to an Arizona area having an overall unemployment rate of 13 percent. After the construction period, there is expected to be a minimum of two years of operation to provide proof of operability.