President Bush has announced that the United States will sponsor a $1 billion ten-year demonstration project to create the world’s first coal-based zero emissions power plant to produce electricity and hydrogen. As part of this announcement, Coal Leader, March 2003, reported that Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham had unveiled plans for FutureGen – one of the boldest steps our Nation has taken toward a pollution free energy future. The project will establish the technical and economic feasibility of producing electricity and hydrogen from coal – which we all know is our lowest cost and most abundant domestic energy resource – while capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide generated in the process.
    FutureGen will showcase cutting edge technologies that can virtually eliminate environmental concerns associated with coal utilization. The ultimate success of FutureGen depends on acceptance of the concept of sequestration by the industries that will be most heavily impacted by potential future limitations on carbon emissions. 
    Nine coal companies and electric utilities (See Coal Leader cover story) have formed an alliance to support the FutureGen initiative and if the results of an initial feasibility analysis are positive, the alliance intends to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy under the guidance of a government steering committee. The alliance will be responsible for the design, construction, and operation of the FutureGen plant and for the monitoring, measuring, and verifying of carbon dioxide sequestration. The alliance will also select the host site; engineering, design, and construction services; and major equipment modules. 
    The alliance will be contributing a 20% industry cost share and the inclusion of additional domestic and overseas industrial coal producers and coal fueled electricity generators will be sought.
    This is the most significant step and the boldest ever undertaken toward a pollution free energy future and will have a great impact on the production and use of coal worldwide. Coal Leader applauds the efforts of the nine coal companies and electric utilities in the formation of the alliance to support FutureGen. These companies are congratulated for their vision and for their very substantial contribution in bringing to this exciting project the necessary experience, resources and financial share.


Bill Reid


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