DOE solicitation calls on industry to match $330 million in federal funding
Washington, DC, March 5, 2002 — The initial competitive stage of President Bush’s $2 billion, 10-year clean coal technology initiative officially began with the Department of Energy’s release of a solicitation offering $330 million in federal matching funds for industry-proposed projects.
Earlier this year, President Bush traveled to West Virginia to talk about the importance of clean coal. “In order to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy, we’ve got to find and produce more energy at home, including coal,” said President Bush. “I believe that we can have coal production and enhanced technologies in order to make sure the coal burns cleaner. I believe we can have both.”
“This solicitation signals our willingness to begin a new partnership with the private sector to enhance our energy supply,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. “Technologies like this will help us preserve our environment while we strengthen America’s energy security.”
Clean coal technologies represent a new class of pollution control and power generating processes that reduce air emissions and, in many cases, lower greenhouse gases to a fraction of the levels of older, conventional coal-burning plants.
Some clean coal technologies offer the potential for giving even high-sulfur “dirty” coals many of the same environmental qualities of natural gas. Others also greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by boosting power plant efficiencies and releasing carbon gases in a form that can be more easily captured and prevented from entering the atmosphere.
“America cannot afford to turn its back on the 250-year supply of secure, low-cost energy represented by the massive coal reserves that lie within our national borders,” said Abraham. “Yet, it has been nearly a decade since the federal government joined with the private sector to move promising new concepts to the point where industry can decide if they merit commercial deployment. Today’s solicitation tells industry we are ready to help share the costs and risks of new technologies that have emerged in the last 10 years but without our support, would likely remain in the laboratory.”
Industry has until August 1, 2002, to submit proposals, and winning projects will be selected by late December.
The Energy Department is asking for projects that demonstrate or accelerate the commercial deployment of any technology advancement that “results in efficiency, environmental and economic improvement compared to currently available state-of-the-art alternatives.”
Among the technologies expected to be proposed are innovative concepts for reducing mercury, smog-causing nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and small particulate matter from existing and future power plants. New technologies that improve power plant control systems and permit plants to run more efficiently and reliably could also be proposed.
Technologies that permit better management and control of carbon emissions are being strongly encouraged. Roughly one third of the United States’ carbon emissions come from power plants, and recently, as part of his National Climate Change Policy, President Bush placed a high priority on encouraging new technologies that can reduce these emissions while, at the same time, keeping energy costs affordable.
The competition is also open to new combustion or other technologies that produce combinations of heat, fuels, chemicals or other useful byproducts in conjunction with power generation. The Department will also accept projects that mix coal with other fuels, with only the provision that coal must represent at least 75 percent of the fuel energy input. The Department is also looking for advanced concepts for converting coal into a combustible gas that can be cleaned to extreme levels of purity.
Prospective projects must also show the potential to move rapidly into the market following the successful demonstration.
For each project selected by the Energy Department, industrial sponsors must be willing to at least match the federal funding share. There will also be a requirement that royalties from commercially successful technologies be used to underwrite future clean coal research.
To download DOE’s Clean Coal solicitation in PDF format, click here: http://www.fossil.energy.gov/coal_power/cct/ccpi/ccpi_sol.pdf.
For more information, visit DOE’s Clean Coal page at http://www.fossil.energy.gov/coal_power/cct/index.shtml.