(110a) Futuregen: Pathway to near-Zero Emissions and Sustainable Energy | AIChE

(110a) Futuregen: Pathway to near-Zero Emissions and Sustainable Energy


Zitney, S. E. - Presenter, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
Sarkus, T. A. - Presenter, National Energy Technology Laboratory

This presentation will highlight the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) FutureGen project--a $1 billion government-industry partnership to design, build, and operate a near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant. The commercial-scale R&D facility is a pathway toward future fossil-energy power plants that will produce hydrogen and electricity while nearly eliminating emissions, including carbon dioxide. The 275-megawatt FutureGen plant will initiate operations around 2012 and employ advanced coal gasification technology integrated with combined cycle electricity generation, hydrogen production, and carbon capture and sequestration.

The FutureGen plant will be based on cutting-edge integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology as well as advanced carbon capture and sequestration systems. The centerpiece of the project will be coal gasification technology that can eliminate common air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and convert them to useable by-products. Gasification will convert coal into a highly enriched synthesis gas comprised of mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Hydrogen captured at the end of the gasification process will be used primarily to power turbines that will generate electricity. Alternatively, the hydrogen in the synthesis gas can be used in a fuel cell to produce ultra-clean electricity, or fed to a refinery to help upgrade petroleum products. Carbon sequestration will also be a key feature that will set the Futuregen plant apart from other electric power plant projects. The initial goal will be to capture 90 percent or more of the plant's carbon dioxide emissions, virtually eliminating coal-related greenhouse gas concerns at a rate of one million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Once captured, the carbon dioxide will be permanently stored in deep-geologic, saline formations.

The FutureGen Alliance, a non-profit consortium of some of the largest coal producers and users in the world, was formed to partner with the DOE on the FutureGen project. The active role of industry in this project ensures that the public and private sector share the cost and risk of developing the advanced technologies necessary to commercialize the FutureGen concept. The FutureGen Alliance members are dedicating $250 million toward the project's costs and bring valuable technical expertise and power plant engineering and construction experience to the project.

The ultimate goal for the FutureGen plant is to show how new technology can eliminate environmental concerns over the future use of coal--the most abundant fossil fuel in the United States with supplies projected to last 250 years. FutureGen's co-production of power and hydrogen will also serve as a pathway to an environmentally sustainable energy future.


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