On August 5, 2010, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the awarding of $1 billion in Recovery Act funding to the FutureGen Alliance, Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. to build FutureGen 2.0, a clean coal repowering program and carbon dioxide (CO2) storage network.
The project partners will repower Ameren's 200 megawatt Unit 4 in Meredosia, Illinois with advanced oxy-combustion technology to capture approximately 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 each year - more than 90 percent of the plant's carbon emissions. Other emissions will be reduced to near zero levels.
Oxy-combustion burns coal with a mixture of oxygen and CO2 instead of air to produce a concentrated CO2 stream for safe, permanent, storage. In addition, oxy-combustion technology creates a near-zero emissions plant by eliminating almost all of the mercury, SOx, NOx, and particulate pollutants from plant emissions. The Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory studies have identified oxy-combustion as potentially the least cost approach to clean-up existing coal-fired facilities and capture CO2 for geologic storage.
FutureGen 2.0 will also provide performance and emissions data for future commercial guarantees, and establish operating and maintenance experience for future large-scale commercial projects. The FutureGen Alliance will help design the test program for the new facility to incorporate a broad range of coals and operating conditions to expand the market for this repowering approach.
CO2 Storage Site
The FutureGen Alliance has selected Morgan County, Ill. as the preferred location for the FutureGen 2.0 CO2 storage site, visitor center, research, and training facilities.
With the selection of the Morgan County site complete, the Alliance conducted further geologic characterization in summer 2011. Should concerns arise around the technical, legal, or public acceptability of the preferred site, the Alliance has identified the Christian and Douglas County sites as alternative sites.
Phase II Begins
On February 4, 2013, following the successful completion of the first phase, the Energy Department announced the beginning of Phase II of project development with a new cooperative agreement between the FutureGen Industrial Alliance and the Department of Energy for an innovative carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Illinois.
Draft EIS Issued
On April 25, 2013, a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the FutureGen 2.0 project was released. The public comment period concluded on June 17, 2013. DOE will consider all comments postmarked or received during the public comment period when preparing the final EIS and will consider late comments to the extent practicable.
Final EIS Issued
On October 25, 2013, the Department of Energy released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the FutureGen 2.0 project. DOE may issue a Record of Decision no sooner than 30 days after the Environmental Protection Agency publishes a notice of availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register on November 1, 2013.