FIGURE 7-12. FutureGen project timelines, components, and estimated costs. (From DOE, FutureGen—A Sequestration and Hydrogen Research Initiative Fact Sheet, Office of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., February 2003.)

international partners that will combine electricity and hydrogen production with the virtual total elimination of harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases, through sequestration [64,68]. The FutureGen plant will serve as the test bed for demonstrating the best technologies the world has to offer.

The power industry will be asked to organize a consortium to manage the project and share in the project costs. Current plans call for the plant to be built over the next five years and operated for at least five years beyond that [64]. A generic timeline showing the approximate period of performances for the five project components is provided in Figure 7-12 [69]. Figure 7-12 also lists the broad activities to be performed as well as the estimated costs for each project component.

Nearly every aspect of the prototype plant will employ cutting-edge technology. Rather than using traditional coal combustion technology, the plant will be based on coal gasification technology, with a hydrogen-rich gas being produced. The hydrogen could then be combusted in a turbine, used in fuel cells to produce clean electricity, or fed to a refinery to upgrade petroleum products [64]. In the future, the plant could become a model hydrogen-production facility to supply a fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Pollutants such as SO2 and NOZ will be cleaned from the coal gases and converted to usable by-products such as fertilizers and soil enhancers [64]. Mercury pollutants will be removed, and CO2 will be captured and sequestered in deep underground geologic formations. Candidate reservoirs include depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal seams, deep saline aquifers, and basalt formations [69]. The reservoirs will be intensively monitored to verify the permanence of the CO2 storage.

The prototype plant will be sized to generate approximately 275 MW of electricity, i.e., equivalent to an average mid-size, coal-fired power plant [64]. The plant would be a stepping stone toward a future coal-fueled power plant that not only would be emissions free but would also operate at unprecedented fuel efficiencies.

The goals of the project include [69]:

• Design, construct, and operate a nominal 275 MW (net equivalent output) prototype plant that produces electricity and hydrogen with near-zero emissions. The size of the plant is dictated by the need for producing commercially relevant data, including the requirement for producing one million metric tons per year of CO2 to adequately validate the integrated operation of the gasification plant and the receiving geologic formation;

• Sequester at least 90% of the CO2 emissions from the plant with the future potential to capture and sequester nearly 100%;

• Prove the effectiveness, safety, and permanence of CO2 sequestration;

• Establish standardized technologies and protocols for CO2 measuring, monitoring, and verification;

• Validate the engineering, economic, and environmental viability of advanced coal-based, near-zero emission technologies that by 2020 will (1) produce electricity with less than a 10% increase in cost compared to non-sequestered systems, and (2) produce hydrogen at $4.00/MM Btu (wholesale), which is equivalent to $0.48/gallon of gasoline, or $0.22/gallon less than the current wholesale price of gasoline.

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