Now that American Electric Power’s carbon capture and storage project has begun operating at its Mountaineer plant in New Haven, W.Va., it has received a flurry of media attention.
And rightfully so – with the help of technology developed by French energy company Alstom, SA, the Mountaineer plant has become the nation’s first coal-generated power plant to capture and store its own carbon dioxide emissions. The goal is to capture and store about 1.5 percent of the CO2 the plant produces.
In the days after the plant’s announcement, many news organizations and publications have tried to explain Mountaineer’s clean coal process to the public – but few appear to have done it better than Scientific American.
We absolutely love the interactive slideshow that award-winning environmental journalist David Biello put together for the magazine.
At first glance, his photos look like a jumble of tubes, pipes and smokestacks, but he explains how each part of the plant plays an important role in cooling, capturing, storing and regenerating the carbon dioxide.
By the end of it, we guarantee that you’ll be up-to-date with the Mountaineer project and the process of capturing carbon emissions.
If you like what you see, check out the clean coal photos that the America’s PowerSM team took during this year’s Factuality Tour on Flickr. We got to see carbon capture and sequestration in action at the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant and the Research Experience in Carbon Sequestration.
And don’t forget to read Scientific American’s related article and guide to carbon capture technology.
Not only does coal provide nearly 50 percent of our country’s electricity, it’s also a big job creator. As we push ahead with carbon capture and storage and other technologies, we hope that innovation will preserve the jobs we have and expand on that workforce in the decades to come.
The findings of a Pennsylvania State University study speak to the economic promise coal can offer:
United States coal production, transportation and consumption for electric power generation will contribute more than $1 trillion of gross output – including 6.8 million jobs – directly and indirectly to the economy of the contiguous U. S. in 2015.
That’s why we are so enthusiastic about American Electric Power’s recent announcement that its Mountaineer plant in New Haven, W.Va., has become the first in the U. S. to capture a portion of CO2 emissions and store it underground.
Innovative projects like the one at Mountaineer could also benefit America’s bottom line by creating jobs. A recent report from key labor and energy industry groups, including ACCCE, finds that clean coal technologies will create millions of high-skilled, high-wage jobs for American workers.
So let’s continue to build a clean-energy infrastructure that will provide us with the affordable energy – and good jobs – we need to keep moving the country forward.
The lack of government investment in energy research is increasing the risk to national security and hindering the creation of breakthrough energy technologies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield told Bloomberg News last week.
As we approach Veterans Day, her message could not have rung truer. Hockfield said that the Obama administration’s request for $6.7 billion in U.S. energy-research funds “isn’t enough to move the U.S. toward energy independence.” (Her institution was the site of President Obama’s speech last month to highlight the nation’s need for clean energy.)
In order to create this technology, the government needs to invest in the research and development. And private industry wants to pitch in and lend a helping hand to its innovation.
More funding could build more robust public-private partnerships. Companies behind carbon capture and storage projects, such as Dominion’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, Va., and American Electric Power’s Mountaineer project in New Haven, W.Va., are already seeking federal stimulus funding to ensure more efficient generation of our most abundant energy supply.
Investing in our domestic energy supply – as Hockfield stressed – is essential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas.
But first, she said, “We’ve got to get back into the business of making stuff.” We agree.
Last week, American Electric Power and energy research center Battelle announced a project to capture as much as 110,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually at the Mountaineer plant near New Haven, W.Va., The Columbus Dispatch reported.
In August, The Dispatch editorialized that the initial $120 million investment would not only help advance carbon capture and sequestration technology in the realm of scientific research; it would also boost the economy of the Midwest by creating jobs in the region.
If successful, the plant would be expanded to capture up to 1.65 million tons a year. American Electric Power is seeking $334 million in federal stimulus funding to cover about half the cost of the larger plant, The Dispatch reported.
The editorial went on to say that AEP’s request is “appropriate” – especially because coal is likely to play a part in the foreseeable future.
This just goes to show that in order to push clean coal technologies forward, we need to continue building coal plants with the capacity to test and develop methods to cut carbon dioxide emissions on the commercial scale.
It’s great to hear such strong local support for new coal plants. We wish Mountaineer the best of luck in securing federal funding and moving ahead with the project.