Thursday, January 31, 2008

FutureGen - Cancelled

I put up a post yesterday regarding the failing support of the FutureGen project. An update was published today in the New York Times. It now appears that the entire project has been canceled due to "higher cost" then what was originally projected for the project.

I sincerely hope that the funds previously designated to FutureGen make their way to another energy research initiative. If these funds end up being shifted toward an unrelated project (i could state many controversial possibilities here) I will be very disappointed in our government leaders.


Cyrus Tashakkori said...

Kind of ironic 2 days after Bush's State of the Union speach in which he talked about supporting technologies to gasify coal. Can anyone say lip-service???

Stephanie Freeman said...

Regarding FutureGen:

I was a bit surprised to hear that the DOE pulled out just a few months after the big announcement to the media that they had selected the site in Illinois and everyone was making plans.

But looking at it now, I think that the DOE could do a lot better with that money. They costs has spiraled out of control compared to what was proposed.

It is a shame that the coal gasification part of FutureGen is now not funded, but the money that would have been earmarked for CO2 capture can certainly be better used in other ways. FutureGen was planning on using a physical solvent, something like Selexol I believe, for CO2 capture. Reactive solvents like MEA far exceed the performance of physical solvents. It seemed silly to have Selexol being developed on such a large scale when MEA systems are already in place and better performers.

If the DOE puts the money from FutureGen toward other, independent research projects or smaller scale pilot activities, I think real advances in CO2 capture and coal gasification technology can be made.

I think we should see the silver lining in the situation and start writing grant proposals because the DOE is going to start giving out money in these areas in a hurry.