Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finalists chosen for carbon storage site

By Jamey Dunn

Four Illinois counties are finalists to house a carbon storage facility as part of the revamped FutureGen “clean coal” project.

The original FutureGen project called for building coal-burning power plant in Coles County that would pump most of the carbon it created underground for storage. However, the project stalled and costs grew. The U.S. Department of Energy announced a new plan in August to retrofit an existing shuttered Ameren plant in Meredosia with carbon-capture technology. The carbon would be pumped through an underground pipeline to a storage facility at another location. Mattoon bowed out as a potential storage area shortly after “FutureGen 2.0” was announced.

The FutureGen Alliance, a group of investors backing the project, announced in November six areas for that could potentially host a storage site. The list has been narrowed down to four finalists — Douglas, Christian, Fayette and Morgan counties. The city of Quincy and Pike County were eliminated from the running.

“This next step in the site selection process keeps FutureGen 2.0 on track,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a written statement. “While the geology was not ideal in the communities that received disappointing news today, the four communities that remain in competition will now have the opportunity to strengthen their proposals. Hosting FutureGen 2.0 in Illinois will create thousands of good-paying jobs and put our state on the forefront of clean coal research and technology.”

The FutureGen Alliance plans to choose a location for carbon storage in early 2011.

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