US Recovery Act 2009
The FutureGen Alliance has restructured – and renamed – the original FutureGen project and now aims to refit one 200MW unit at Ameren Energy Resources's power plant in Meredosia, Illinois, with advanced oxy-combustion technology. The project also intends to capture up to 1.3 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide – or around 90% of all CO2 emissions – and transport it by pipeline to Morgan County for storage underground in a deep saline formation.
The project partners include the US Department of Energy, State of Illinois, Babcock & Wilcox and American Air Liquide. It may be one of the largest oxy-combustion projects in the world, and is planned to start up in 2015. The project includes plans for a research and visitor complex close to the CO2 storage site. It also aims to provide performance and emissions data that will build commercial confidence in the technology.
In February 2013, the project partners announced the start of Phase Two, which will involve preliminary design, pre-construction and engineering for the plant. In October 2013, Babcock and Wilcox announced that they were about to start the front end engineering and design and supply a boiler island and oxy-coal combustion system, gas quality control system and provide the balance of plant engineering for the first-of-its-kind, near-zero emissions coal-fired plant.
In January 2014, the DOE gave one of the final OKs for Futuregen to start building the plant. The project still needs to obtain a permit to store the gas and to finalize its end of the financing. Both are conditions that have to be met to secure the $1 billion in federal funding, but the construction is expected to begin by the end of this year.
In September 2014, the EPA approved the permit for Futuregen to store CO2 underground, which is a key step in building and developing this project. The permit means that drilling for the wells might begin as soon as October.
In late 2012, the state approved the Illinois Power Agency's 20-year plan to procure all power from the plant, providing an economic footing. The project has received $1 billion from the DoE’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total cost is around $1.3 billion dollars. In 2008, the DoE had announced it would only fund the CCS element of the original IGCC project, which was then cancelled. It was restructured in 2010 to an oxyfuel combustion retrofit project.
In November 2011, utility company Ameren decided not meet the estimated $750 million cost of converting its Meredosia oil-fired power plant to coal under the FutureGen 2.0 project. However, it did promise to make the plant available to the project.
In February 2015 the Department of Energy DoE yanked funding for the project that was authorized to receive $1.1 billion in funding via the 2009 stimulus law, though the bulk was never spent.
Construction of the power plant, CO2 pipeline and storage facility was expected to begin in the second half of 2012. The plant was scheduled to become operational in 2015. The DoE has undergone an environmental review and public consultation. The repowering of the Meredosia plant, the CO2 pipeline and storage facility and the training and research center was meant to be completed by end of 2015.
The U.S. Department of Energy has directed the suspension of FutureGen 2.0 project development activities. The DOE has concluded that there is insufficient time to complete the project before federal funding expires in September 2015. This means a shelving of the project.
In July 2012, the Futuregen Alliance announced that its preferred storage site for CO2 would be Morgan County, in Illinois, after geologic testing and engineering studies confirmed the site’s suitability. The FutureGen Alliance had already selected the deep saline formation site after in-depth review of site proposals received from interested hosts, after an open competitive process. Morgan County is also the preferred location for the project visitor centre and research and training facilities. The project successfully completed drilling the characterisation well at the end of 2011.
Among the factors that resulted in the selection of the Morgan County site are said to be its high quality geology, and its close proximity to the Meredosia power plant, which simplifies pipeline routing and substantially reduces the project’s overall cost. It also has enough reservoir capacity to permanently store all CO2 generated by the FutureGen 2.0 project.