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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

U.S. carbon capture projects reap $ 3.18 billion

Three advanced coal technology projects with carbon capture and commercial-scale storage capabilities will receive $3.18 billion in combined funding from the United States Department of Energy and private investments.

About $979 million in stimulus funds will be released by the department to the awardees which will be leveraged with $2.2 billion in private capital cost share. The department’s investment is the third round of funding under its clean coal power initiative created in 2005.

“This investment is part of our commitment to advancing carbon capture and storage technologies to the point that widespread, affordable deployment can begin in eight to ten years,” Steven Chu, energy secretary, said.

The projects explore various carbon capture and storage methods. Through $350 million from the Energy Department which represents the biggest federal allocation, Summit Texas Clean Energy L.L.C. of Washington will combine Siemens gasification and power generation with carbon capture technologies. The project will capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide, or 2.7 million metric tons annually, of a proposed 400-megawatt Midland-Odessa, Texas plant.

American Electric Power Company Inc. of Ohio will design, construct and operate a chilled ammonia process for $334 million from the energy department. The process can effectively capture at least 90 percent of the carbon dioxide, about 1.5 million metric tons annually, in a 235-megawatt flue gas stream at the existing 1,300 megawatt Appalachian Power Company Mountaineer power plant near New Haven, West Virginia.

Lastly, the Southern Company Services Inc. of Alabama, for $295 million of the same federal grant, will retrofit a carbon dioxide capture plant on a 160-megawatt flue gas stream at an existing coal-fired power plant north of Mobile, Alabama. The captured carbon dioxide will be compressed and transported through a pipeline. Up to 1 million metric tons annually of the carbon dioxide will be sequestered in deep saline formations.

All in all, the projects target carbon dioxide capture efficiency of 90 percent.

“Clean coal solutions are possible and attainable - and that is evident by all of the supporters behind this project. This is so crucial to move this state and nation forward,” said West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin.

“Coal has and always will be an enormous part of our West Virginia soul and when we invest in new technologies that make it better and cleaner, we are taking control [of] our future – and that is the key,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller.

U.S. carbon capture projects reap $ 3.18 billion


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