Kentucky vies for FutureGen power plant project

University of Kentucky and Kentucky Geological Survey partner with state in proposal submission



An artist's conception of the proposed FutureGen power facility.
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Lexington, KY (May 4, 2006) Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has announced that the state's proposal for the FutureGen power plant project has been completed and submitted for review by the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, an international non-profit consortium of coal producers, utility companies, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Kentucky Geological Survey, a research center at the University of Kentucky, is one of several project partners who provided major technical assistance for the preparation of Kentucky's proposal.

A total of nine states including Kentucky are expected to submit proposals for the project.

FutureGen is a proposed $1 billion public-private project to design, construct and operate a coal-fueled electric generating plant which creates essentially no emissions. The experimental plant will test the feasibility of producing electricity and hydrogen from coal while also capturing and geologically storing carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere--a process known as carbon sequestration.

Kentucky's submission proposes to build the cutting-edge plant at a 215-acre site in Henderson County along the Green River in the western coalfields of the state. The state has an option to purchase the site from Cash Creek Generation, L.L.C., if the state's proposal is selected for the project. The site is on reclaimed coal-mining property.

KGS's Energy and Minerals Section provided technical assistance to the state in selecting a qualifying site which is well-positioned above geologic formations suitable for carbon sequestration. The primary target formation for sequestration is known as the Cambro-Ordovician Knox Supergroup, approximately 7,400 feet below ground level.

The KGS Energy and Minerals Section has been actively involved in geologic carbon sequestration research for the past six years. KGS is a member of three regional carbon sequestration partnerships seeking to identify and test various geologic options available in the region for securely storing carbon dioxide or using it to enhance oil and gas production before final, permanent geologic storage.

KGS scientists also determined that formations above the Knox will provide multiple seals to keep the carbon dioxide stored in place. They also determined that a nearby inactive fault would not be likely to allow seepage of the gas back to the surface.

The FutureGen Industrial Alliance will evaluate the competing proposals, select finalists and make a decision on the final site for the proposed plant by the fall of 2007. Current plans call for the plant to be operational in 2012.

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Kentucky's proposal will be posted at the state Office of Energy Policy's web site, http://www.energy.ky.gov.

More information about the FutureGen project is available at the U.S. Department of Energy site http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/powersystems/futuregen/.

The KGS website also has information about FutureGen and carbon sequestration research at the Geological Survey at http://www.uky.edu/KGS/emsweb/oginfo/.


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