Clean coal is dead.
While the notion of coal being a source of “clean” was a bit oxymoronic to begin with, the Obama administration perhaps put an end to the dream for good.
The so-called FutureGen 2.0 project was an ambitious – some might say quixotic – attempt by the Bush administration to demonstrate the viability of coal in an era of greenhouse gas reductions. The $1.7 billion project hoped to overhaul a 65-year-old coal-fired power plant in Illinois with carbon capture technology. After carbon sequestration was demonstrated, the government-backed project would help develop a new industry of low-carbon coal power.
But it wasn’t to be. The Department of Energy scrapped the project on February 3, ordering the developer to cease work due to the expiration of federal funding. “The U.S. Department of Energy has directed the suspension of FutureGen 2.0 project development activities. The DOE has concluded that there is insufficient time to complete the project before federal funding expires in September 2015,” Ken Humphreys, CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, said in a statement on February 3.