Saturday, February 2, 2008

FutureGen hits PresentSnag — and, is it all hype in the end?

The experimental power plant for carbon-capture coal-fired electricity has been shelved:

With the budget of the so-called FutureGen project having nearly doubled, to $1.8 billion, and the government responsible for more than 70 percent of the eventual bill, the administration completely revamped the project.

The Energy Department said it would pay for the gas-capturing technology, but industry would have to build and pay for the commercial plants that use the technology. Plans for the experimental plant were scratched.

Top Energy Department officials said the change would save taxpayers money, generate more electricity and capture more than twice as much carbon dioxide.

But independent energy experts largely criticized the move, saying it would require two to four more years for new designs, plans and approvals, let alone budget tussles and eventual construction.

The idea is to capture carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fire power plants and then pump it deep into the earth to avoid further buildup of the gas in the atmosphere. But several experts said the plan still lacked the scope to test various gas-separation technologies, coal varieties, and — most important — whether varied geological conditions can permanently hold carbon dioxide.

I’m guessing that, in another five years, we’ll see FutureGen as the same global-warming stall bullshit out of Bush as the hydrogen car.