Skip to Content

Chu Entertains FutureGen Alliance

Energy Secretary Steven Chu meets with proponents of a troubled clean-carbon project.
March 30, 2009

Potential Energy has learned that Energy Secretary Steven Chu met with representatives of the FutureGen Alliance today, reinforcing positive signals from Chu two weeks ago that the troubled project could be revived. The public-private partnership to prove the integration of coal gasification, carbon capture, and sequestration technologies was killed by the Bush Administration in January 2008 using what Congressional investigators have shown to be specious accounting.

In an email to TechReview today, Department of Energy press secretary Stephanie Mueller confirms that Chu and the Alliance had a “good discussion” and that the Secretary Chu “believes that the FutureGen proposal has real merit”:

FutureGen’s carbon-free coal vision may soon be more than a clean dream

Secretary Chu believes that investment in carbon capture and storage research and development is critical to meeting our energy and climate change challenges. Unfortunately, the prior Administration simply walked away from FutureGen after years of work … In the coming weeks, the Department will be working with the Alliance and members of Congress to strengthen the proposal and try to reach agreement on a path forward.

Michael Mudd, FutureGen Alliance chief executive, struck a confident tone after the meeting about the prospects for reviving the project. “It is not certain but I think it is highly likely. We have a vehicle for funding it through the stimulus package. We have interest of the Obama Administration in seeing this go through. There’s growing interest in reducing CO2 emissions. All of the aspects are there pointing towards [reviving the project],” says Mudd.

One attraction of the project is that it is more “shovel ready” than average–particularly for a capital-intensive energy installation. An environmental impact statement already issued under the Bush Administration, and a Record of Decision (ROD) from DOE formally approving the project seems to be in the works. “Step one is for new sec of energy to issue the ROD. With that we can do a detailed design and start procurement. If that happens quickly we can begin the heavy construction next year, and even some light construction this year,” says Mudd. The plant could actually start up in as little as three years from now, with “90% carbon capture and sequestration from Day One,” according to Mudd.

Which would be just in time for Obama’s re-election campaign.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.