The DOE is providing the foundation needed to build a future generation of fossil energy-based power systems capable of meeting the energy and environmental demands of the twenty-first century. This initiative—Vision 21—is the DOE's approach for developing the technology needed for ultra-clean twenty-first-century energy plants. The overall goal of Vision 21 is to effectively remove, at competitive costs, all of the environmental concerns associated with the use of fossil fuels for producing electricity and transportation fuels [63]. Achieving this goal will require an intensive, long-range (i.e., 15-20 years) research and development effort that emphasizes innovation and commercialization of revolutionary technologies. First-generation systems emerging from the CCT Program, PPII, and CCPI are providing or will provide the basis for Vision 21, including: (1) a knowledge base from which to launch commercial systems that will experience increasingly improved cost and performance over time through design refinement, and (2) platforms on which to test new components that will result in improvements in cost and performance.

Vision 21 is based on three premises: The United States will rely on fossil fuels for a major share of its energy needs well into the twenty-first century; a diverse mix of energy resources, including coal, gas, oil, biomass, and other renewables, as well as nuclear, must be used for strategic and security reasons, rather than using a limited subset of these resources; and research and development directed at resolving energy and environmental issues can find affordable ways to make energy conversion systems meet ever stricter environmental standards [63]. Vision 21 plants will effectively remove environmental constraints as an issue in the use of fossil fuels; emissions of traditional pollutants, including smog- and acid-raining species, will be near zero; and the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) will be reduced 40 to 50% by efficiency improvements and reduced to zero if combined with sequestration. In addition, Vision 21 plants will address water use, by-product utilization, sustainability (i.e., no future legacies), timely deployment of new technology, and affordable, competitive systems with other energy options. The Vision 21 energy plant performance targets are listed in Table 7-5 [63,64], and the technology concept is shown in Figure 7-11 [65].

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