Originally posted on Climatewire
A proposed project to capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide from the W.A. Parish power planet near Houston, Texas was awarded $167 million yesterday by the Department of Energy, says ClimateWire.
This project is set to be the first of its kind in commercial use of carbon capture and sequestration CCS technology on a coal generator. Amid a current environment of diminished stimulus funding and lackluster carbon incentives, this project will succeed projects from Mississippi Power’s Kemper project and SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project in Canada that are currently under construction.
“The proposed project would help [the department] meet its congressionally mandated mission to support advanced clean-coal technology projects,” states the decision.
The Texas project is planning to have the capture unit of the existing plant operational in 2015. The estimated CO2 captured is said to equate 1.6 million tons per year from the plant’s exhaust, which would otherwise have been emitted to the atmosphere. Older plants will be the source of most coal emissions in coming decades.
The Midwest has seen a significant uptick in coal output, and as the Wall Street Journal reported today, its recent “comeback” has powered new jobs and economic activity in the region.
The article attributes coal’s surge in this region to clean coal technologies that have enabled mining companies to access more broadly the Midwest’s vast deposits of coal. As Vic Svec, of Peabody Energy, noted in the article, “The widespread deployment of scrubbers [installed on coal-fueled power plants] removes the major barrier—sulfur dioxide—to Illinois Basin coal use.”
As many in the article go on to say, the ramped up production of coal from the Illinois Basin is not only giving communities access to affordable, reliable American-made energy, but it’s also creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
David A. Meyer, chairman of the county board of Washington County, IL, said the project has given the area a much-needed boost and has provided “permanent good-paying jobs, some of them very high-tech.” Indeed, one coal mine in a farming community southeast of St. Louis added 580 jobs and helped fund a high school and court building. In McLeansboro, 70 miles to the east, a mine under construction has brought jobs and several new businesses to the area.
Integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants power many communities throughout the country. This clean coal technology converts coal to a synthetic gas that is then combusted in a combined-cycle system, one of the most efficient in commercial use today, meaning more energy and less emissions from coal-fueled power plants.
IGCC can achieve thermal efficiencies that exceed 40 percent, thus emitting as much as 30 percent less carbon dioxide. IGCC plants also have very low SO2, NOX, particulate matter, and mercury emissions – making them some of the cleanest plants in the United States – using our nation’s most affordable and abundant domestic fuel resource – coal.
Among the plants that will be using IGCC technology is the Edwardsport Station in Indiana, which is expected to begin commercial operation by the middle of this year. “The 618-megawatt IGCC facility will be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world.”
In North Dakota, Basin Electric Power Cooperative owns and operates a plant employing gasification technology. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant – the cleanest energy plant operating in the state – is “a model of how coal can be used to produce energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.”
In Kemper County, Mississippi, Southern Company is building a 582-megawatt transport integrated gasification (TRIG) plant that will deploy technology to capture 65 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant, using the state’s four billion ton reserve of lignite coal.
Just another way clean coal technologies are powering our energy future.