The Jamestown coal plant would burn coal in pure oxygen instead of air. This process leaves water and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, which can be stored, or sequestered, underground for permanent storage.
Burning coal in oxygen can produce exhaust streams that are close to pure carbon dioxide, according to scientists at Sandia National Lab.
Chris Shaddix, principal investigator for clean coal combustion at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility, says when coal is burned in pure oxygen, harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur compounds, and mercury are virtually eliminated.
The Jamestown plant will serve as a demonstration facility for the promising new technology. The oxy-combustion approach is favored by companies in Japan, Canada and Germany, where pilot plants are under construction.
New York Governor David Paterson visits Jamestown to announce support for a clean coal plant there. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
"Using pure oxygen to burn coal is one of the most cost effective ways of avoiding the impending climate changes associated with the accumulation of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere." said Harvey Stenger, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
"Producing pure oxygen from air is a process developed and refined at Praxair," he said. "Using it to combust coal, our nation's most plentiful energy resource, is a technology that once refined by Praxair and its partners, will allow us to capture and sequester almost all of the carbon dioxide emitted when coal is burned."
This research will be conducted by the Oxy-Coal Alliance, which is made up of: Praxair, Dresser-Rand, E&E, Ecology and Environment, Foster Wheeler, Battelle Labs, State University of New York-Buffalo and AES Corporation.
Charles McConnell, vice president of gasification and oxy-coal technology at Praxair, said, "This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate new, world-class technology right in our own community. Demonstration projects are fundamental to building a road map to commercial implementation of carbon dioxide capture technology in the future."
Following completion of the research, the Oxy-Coal Alliance group will apply for a federal grant to continue research and development of the proposed Jamestown power plant. Grant notification is expected by the middle of 2009.
The Paterson administration's new strategy for advanced coal development includes qualified financial support of up to $6 million for the New York Oxy-Coal Alliance in Jamestown.
In addition, the project will enjoy research and development funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
The strategy also includes the formation of a Carbon Capture and Sequestration Working Group.
New York's senior U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Governor Paterson's decision to support the development of an advanced coal power plant in Jamestown is a knockout win for both Western New York and the country."
Joe Brown, business manager of Boilermakers Local 7 said, "Being one of the predominant crafts on site we will employ over 100 people for two and a half years, a huge economic impact for the community. I'd like to thank the Governor's Office for their effort in putting New York State at the forefront of the newest technology to help address climate change."
The Paterson administration wants to showcase New York's green credentials and used the announcement of support for the Oxy-Coal Alliance to remind residents that New York is the lead state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation's first viable carbon cap-and-trade system.
New York is also a leader in renewable energy production with a Renewable Portfolio Standard that ensures New Yorkers will obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2013.
New York also is a national leader in energy efficiency, the administration said, pointing to New York's "15 by 15" initiative - the nation's most aggressive energy efficiency goal which calls for a 15 percent reduction in energy use below projected levels by 2015.
Now, if only sequestration works in New York's geology, the oxy-combustion coal technology could help the state meet its own energy needs using a domestic fuel and spur economic development and clean tech jobs.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.