US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on Friday launched a federal program that will provide $36 million in financial assistance to advance carbon capture technologies.
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The funds, provided through the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, will support cost-shared research and cultivate projects to continue development of carbon capture technologies at either the engineering scale or to a commercial design.
"Carbon capture technologies are one of the most effective ways we can continue to leverage the sustainability of our nation's fossil fuel resources while advancing environmental stewardship," Perry said in a statement.
"This funding opportunity will provide for further innovation on methods for capturing carbon emissions for storage and other utilization efforts, as well as underscore this administration's commitment to both environmental and economic security," he added.
A maximum of six projects will be awarded funding. A total of $30 million will be awarded to up to four projects associated with improving carbon capture technologies to engineering scale using existing host site infrastructure, and $6 million will be awarded to up to two projects focused on initial engineering, testing and design for a commercial-scale, post-combustion carbon dioxide capture system.
The Petra Nova project at the WA Parish Generating Station outside Houston is currently the only operational utility-scale CO2 capture project in the US at a coal-fired unit. The joint venture between NRG and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration came online in 2016. The captured CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery at the West Ranch oil field operated by Hilcorp Energy.
The carbon capture and storage system at the Kemper County Energy Facility first came online in February, but was taken offline by Mississippi Power in late June when it suspended lignite coal gasification at the facility in Mississippi and switched to generation solely by natural gas.
The future of the CO2 system at Kemper is in limbo while Mississippi Power and the Mississippi Public Service Commission work on a settlement over the future of Kemper.
The change in fuel at Kemper came after the PSC called for the plant to run only on gas to "remove risk from ratepayers for the lignite coal gasifier and related costs." Following delays and construction problems, the total cost of Kemper had ballooned to $7.5 billion by the end of June, up from original project estimates of $2.4 billion.
A PSC hearing has been scheduled for December 4 to reach a settlement with Mississippi Power as to how to pay for plant assets now in service.
--Jim Levesque, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com