Illinois Politicians Encourage Resurrection of FutureGen ‘Clean’ Coal Project


Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin met with energy secretary nominee Steven Chu on Wednesday to discuss the stalled FutureGen “clean” coal project.  As a quick refresher, the FutureGen project was intended to be a “public-private partnership to build the world’s first near zero-emissions coal-fueled power plant.  The 275-megawatt plant would be intended to prove the feasibility of producing electricity and hydrogen from coal while capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide underground.”

However, the Bush Administration shelved the project, which upset local Illinois politicians, since FutureGen was to be located in their state.  One such politician was the esteemed Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman “deceived the people of East Central Illinois who spent time and resources competing for the project.”

Although Al Gore, among others, say “there is no such thing as clean coal” and Steven Chu has previously declared that coal is his “worst nightmare,” a Durbin spokeswoman indicated optimism that the FutureGen project would receive new life:

“Dr. Chu can’t commit to anything yet because he hasn’t been sworn in, but he appeared open to the project, which is a 180-degree turn from the last administration,” she stated.

Durbin added in a statement:

“It is clear after today’s meeting, Dr. Chu understands the importance of FutureGen to Illinois and is fully aware of the delegation’s commitment to moving the project forward.” 

Whether that importance to Illinois is consistent with what is important for the country and the planet remains to be seen.

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One Comment

  1. larry hagedon says:

    Building more coal plants is good, but we need to use the CO2, not bury it.

    We can use the CO2 to grow green plants like algae for more energy production.

    In fact we should be develping uses for all the combustion gasses.

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