FutureGen Alliance has selected Morgan County as the preferred site for its carbon storage project. This is part of FutureGen’s $1.2 billion project in developing clean coal technology. The selected site will store carbon dioxide from the retrofitted coal fired power plant-Ameren plant at Meredosia. The captured CO2 will be transported from the power plant to the storage site using pipeline. Atleast 25 surface acres are needed for a carbon injection facility in addition to a 1000 acre buffer zone. The CO2 piped from the Ameren plant will be injected into a sandstone formation at least 3500 feet beneath the earth. Geologists had predicted that this particular storage site has an estimated capacity of 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide/year.
Morgan, Christian, Douglas and Fayette counties were shortlisted for storing carbon dioxide but finally Morgan was selected based on certain factors. Among the factors that resulted in the selection of Morgan county as the storage site are
- Geological structure which is suitable for long term storage of CO2
- Close proximity to the power plant that simplifies pipeline routing to reduce the projects overall cost
- Strong support from local community leaders and elected representatives in support of the project
Along with the carbon dioxide storage site, the Morgan county will also host a research and training facility and a visitor center. These facilities are critical to advance clean coal technology in the state of Illinois and worldwide.
This project will put Illinois in the world map as a center of clean coal technology and the investment to be made in the county will be a major boost to the economy of the region. This project would generate 1000 jobs in construction and services industry each.
The project cost is put at $1.3 billion with $1 billion federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment act. Nearly 55% of the project cost would go towards retrofitting the existing Ameren power plant and remaining cost towards the storage facility. The Ameren power plant will be retrofitted with advanced oxy fuel combustion technology. Oxy-combustion burns coal with a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide instead of air to produce a concentrated carbon-dioxide stream for storage. If successfully applied, the technology could help existing coal-fired power plants reduce greenhouse-gas emissions without shifting to natural gas and meet proposed tougher Environmental Protection Agency regulations of traditional pollutants such as mercury.
Having shortlisted the storage site, the next step is the environmental analysis of the site by the environmental protection agency which will take 1.5 years. On getting the approval from the US department of energy (DOE), the construction of pipeline and power plant would start in 2012 to be completed 2015. The storage of CO2 in the proposed site will commence in 2016.
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