Committee on Science and Technology
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Caucus and Staff Reports :: March 10, 2009

The Passing of FutureGen: How the World’s Premier Clean Coal Technology Project Came to be Abandoned

 Report by the Majority Staff of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology to Chairman Bart Gordon and Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller

March 10, 2009

When President George W. Bush announced the FutureGen initiative in February of 2003, he described it as a 10-year, $1 billion, government/private partnership to build a coal-based, zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen producing power plant. It would provide the American people and the world with advanced technologies that would help meet the world’s energy needs, and would improve the global environment for future generations. Spencer Abraham, then-Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), went even further. This “bold step” would turn coal from an “environmentally challenging energy resource into an environmentally benign one” and demonstrate the best technologies the world had to offer.

The plant would not use traditional coal technology, but would be an integrated gasification combined cycle/carbon capture and storage (IGCC/CCS) facility built at the commercial scale of 275 megawatts. It would sequester one million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, produce both electricity and hydrogen as energy sources and demonstrate the integration of commercial and untested technologies. Its results would be shared with all participants, including international parties, industry, the environmental community and the public. International participation was a core component of the project as acceptance of the project’s results were deemed necessary by the Administration for building an international consensus on the role of coal and carbon sequestration in addressing global climate change and energy security…

 Read the complete Staff Report


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