Illinois utility working with university on DOE-funded carbon capture research project

The municipal utility which generates and delivers electricity for the home of Lincoln will be part of a major carbon capture research project connected to a coal-fired power plant.

City Water, Light and Power of Springfield, Illinois, will play host to the pilot project led by the University of Illinois. A 10-MW slipstream capturing flue gas at CWLP’s Unit 4 is the centerpiece of the research effort.

“The successful construction and operation of this plant will provide a means to demonstrate an economically attractive and transformational capture technology,” reads a U.S. Department of Energy release about the project in Springfield. “The approach used to design, construct, and commission the design is an important feature of the technology and will help enable the commercialization process.”

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DOE is awarding $47.16 million for the University of Illinois-CWLP project. Another $20 million is coming from outside the federal government to fund the pilot.

Planners say the Springfield program will become the largest carbon capture research effort in the world. Construction is set to begin in June with operations by 2025, according to reports.

“We are very fortunate to have the University of Illinois undertake this important project at CWLP Dallman Unit 4 and at an opportune time when the energy industry is seeking to move to a zero-carbon future,” CWLP Chief Utility Engineer Doug Brown said in a statement to Springfield’s local news Channel 20. “A proven and cost-effective carbon capture solution is what plants need to be able to demonstrate and transition to if a balanced, resilient and reliable energy grid is the goal. Further, I’m pleased the university is planning spinoff projects from this work in beneficial reuse and a study into a hybrid power plant, along with energy storage research.”

Last month, DOE announced about $110 million in a variety of carbon capture and utilization projects in coal-fired power regions. Companies such as Akers, Siemens, Honeywell, Kinder Morgan are starting ventures looking into the potential of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.

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