U.S., South Korea Sign Pact on Clean Coal-Fired Power Plant

By Jane Morse
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - Signing on to a U.S.-led initiative for cleaner energy production, South Korea has pledged $10 million to help build and operate the world's first zero-emissions coal-fired power plant.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says South Korea is the second nation, after India, to participate in the FutureGen International Partnership.

The $1 billion FutureGen initiative is a 10-year effort announced by President Bush in 2003 to integrate advanced coal gasification technology, production of hydrogen from coal, power generation and the capture and geologic storage of carbon dioxide.

Once operational, the planned facility will remove and sequester carbon dioxide while producing electricity and hydrogen, making it the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world in environmental terms.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman and South Korean Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Chung Sye Kyun signed the agreement on June 26.

"This agreement signifies our collective commitment to global technological leadership on climate change and future energy needs," Bodman said.  "This bold and revolutionary initiative … will ensure that clean coal continues to globally supply our energy needs in ways that are environmentally sustainable and responsible."

FutureGen will initiate operations in 2012, and the plant will be the first in the world to produce both electricity and commercial-grade hydrogen from coal simultaneously, according to DOE.

Twelve sites in seven states have been named as candidates to host the power plant.

The FutureGen Alliance, a nonprofit company created by a coalition of the largest electric utilities and coal companies in the United States to facilitate the construction and operation of the power plant, will deliver a list of finalist sites to DOE this summer following a rigorous evaluation based on criteria developed jointly by the alliance and the Energy Department.  The FutureGen Alliance will select a final site for the plant in the fall of 2007.

Bodman has invited government members of the international Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) to become active participants in the FutureGen project.

The CSLF is a voluntary climate initiative that includes 20 developed and developing nations  - including India and South Korea - plus the European Commission.  CSLF members are engaged in cooperative technology development aimed at enabling the early reduction and steady elimination of the carbon dioxide.

For more information about U.S. policies, see Energy Policy.

The text of the press release and more information on the FutureGen Project are available on the Department of Energy's Web site.

A description of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative is available on the White House Web site.