So, the Dept of Energy announced last week that the original FutureGen project got a huge make-over. This seems like a huge deal. It's possibly one of the biggest events of the year as far as advanced energy.
It also seems to me that this change to FutureGen2.0 could kill the project. The project went from IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle where the CO2 is captured at pressure from a mix of H2/CO/H2O/CO2) to oxy-combustion (where the CO2 is capture from flue gases...probably near atmospheric pressure.)
This is a complete redesign of the system and it has nothing to do with the original conception of FutureGen.
Why does it take $1 billion to retrofit an existing power plant to make it an oxy-combustion plant? For $1 billion, we should be able to retrofit at least 5 existing plants. What happened to the other parts of FutureGen? The IGCC part was also supposed to demonstrate the production of pure hydrogen (for sale) and the use of pure hydrogen in gas turbines?
How did the entire scope of the project magically get changed? I'm really mad about the whole thing, and I'm really pissed at the Dep. of Energy MGMT (past and present administrations) for their complete inability to stick to one project and see it through to the end.
There are a bunch of different advanced coal power cycles, and they are all about equally rated if CO2 has to be captured (Conventional coal combustion with capture/oxy-combustion/IGCC with capture.) As I stated earlier, the DOE needs to be consistent. There was a bid process about seven years ago. As soon as a winner was picked, the Bush admin DOE stopped the process because they didn't like the winner. So the project got axed...until the Recovery Act, when it got revived...but now it got changed, and I don't think that there was a new bid process. This seems illegal if this is the case. And I suggest that we should all do some research to see if there was a new bid process before the latest "winner" was announced.
Why does it seem that we are unable to follow through with big projects? The same thing has been going on in the fusion community and their big project "ITER," which has been off&on since the Regan admin.
So, to repeat, I'm truly pessimistic right now. It's days like this that I wish that the government would pass a cap™ bill and then get the hell out of the energy business. The US gov't seems incapable of solving the combined energy problems, which are: 1) diminishing supply of liquid hydrocarbons, 2) emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases, 3) energy security of the remaining liquid hydrocarbons, and 4) the desire for cheap fuels and electricity.