Ameren Energy Resources Signs FutureGen 2.0 Cooperative Agreement

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Ameren Energy Resources Company, LLC (AER) —the holding company for merchant generation for Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE)—today announced that it has signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that could lead to repowering an oil-fired unit at AER’s Meredosia Power Plant near Jacksonville, Ill.  This would create the world’s first, full-scale, oxy-combustion coal-fired plant designed for permanent carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) capture and storage.

Capture and storage of the greenhouse gas CO 2 is critical to reducing these power plant emissions, which have been linked to global climate change.  The project is part of the initiative known as FutureGen 2.0, which calls for transporting the captured CO 2 over a new regional pipeline to a new, deep saline injection storage facility to be developed by others in Illinois.  It is estimated that FutureGen 2.0 could eventually bring as many as 900 jobs to central Illinois.

Now that this agreement has been signed, Ameren and its partners, The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. (Air Liquide), expect to spend the next nine months completing Phase 1 of the proposed project, which includes the initial engineering, design and economic analysis for repowering this unit. In addition, during Phase 1, the partners will validate the project’s scope, cost, schedule and commercial viability. 

If Phase 1 results determine the project to be technically and commercially sound, then DOE would authorize Phase 2 of the project, which would include detailed engineering design, schedule and cost analysis as well as environmental studies to support the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and effluent permitting.

In parallel with the Phase 2 studies, the partners will approach the Illinois legislature for a change in state law to establish a cost recovery mechanism for the project. In addition, project leaders will address the issue of long-term liability with respect to the CO

2 pipeline and sequestration, to be supplied by participants other than Ameren and its partners.

Successful completion of Phases 1 and 2 studies and enactment of the supporting legislation will be necessary before Phase 3 is authorized.

Phase 3 will include the procurement and construction activities necessary to repower the Meredosia Plant’s 200-megawatt Unit 4. If approved by the Ameren Board of Directors, these activities could begin in the second quarter of 2012 with a target completion date in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

In August, the three companies announced that they had been selected by the DOE to negotiate the installation of this technology, which is designed to produce clean energy from coal by capturing and storing approximately 1.3 million tons of CO 2 each year, or 90 percent of the plant’s expected CO 2  emissions.

The AER plant would use an innovative coal-fired oxy-combustion CO2 capture technology, designed to use oxygen, instead of air, during combustion, removing the flyash, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide and leaving the flue gas composed of nearly pure CO 2, suitable for compression and storage in deep geologic formations. B&W and Air Liquide have successfully pilot-tested coal-fired oxy-combustion at B&W’s research facility in Alliance, Ohio, supported by Air Liquide’s technology developments at its research and development facility in Newark, Del.

“We are excited to move forward with our partners—B&W and Air Liquide—on the next step toward building a near-zero emission facility—a generating plant that will serve as an invaluable testing ground for these critical new clean energy technologies,” said Charles Naslund, president and chief executive officer of AER.