Coal's in our future. So what IS wrong with Kansas?

FutureGen's diagram of it's near-zero emission coal plant.You may think I really don't like coal.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

FutureGen's diagram of it's near-zero emission coal plant.

You may think I really don't like coal. Bunch of petrified plants, after all. But the questions about coal are, after all, largely technological. It's unlike the debate over peak oil, and what supply may remain. Nobody thinks we're about to run out of coal. Soon work is expected to begin on the next generation of coal-burning plant to generate electricity. The plant will be built in either Illinois or Texas. Near to coal fields.

This $1.5 billion dolalr plant is being planned by FutureGen, a government/business alliance. The U.S Department of Energy and a number of large energy corporations are members of the FutureGen Alliance which is administered by the DOE. Their stated goal is to produce a single plant that is commercially viable and produces almost no emissions, not even CO2. It was CO2 emissions in large amounts that led to the battle over two old-fashioned coal plants that were planned for western Kansas.

Here's what FutureGen's website says about their new-fangled coal plant, "The commercial-scale plant will prove the technical and economic feasibility of producing low-cost electricity and hydrogen from coal while nearly eliminating emissions. It will also support testing and commercialization of technologies focused on generating clean power, capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide, and producing hydrogen."

Futuregen plans to generate hydrogen that wil be burned to produce electricity. The unavoidable CO2 they plan to store underground.

Meanwhile two Republican state senators in Kansas hope to revive plans there for two coal-fired plants. Despite the permit denial from the state's Secretary of Environment and Health. So the battle in Kansas will continue over a technology that FutureGen may prove to be at the level of an open fire pit versus a modern gas stove. That, in short, is what's wrong with Kansas, this time. I do realize the state doesn't have the large Congressional delegation of an Illinois or Texas, but couldn't Kansas at least stand in line for the next FutureGen-type plant?

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