A few months ago, I blogged about how China was joining the U. S. FutureGen Initiative and that India had already joined. Now, the FutureGen Industrial Alliance has chosen the Washington Group International (WGI) to help build the world’s first clean coal power plant prototype.
WGI has 25,000 employees in 30 countries and is a pioneer in upgrading current coal-fired power plants with clean air equipment. In fact, WGI has also been awarded a contract to upgrade a power plant in Baltimore, Maryland that will drastically reduce the emissions of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and mercury into the air.
In regard to FutureGen, WGI is expected to provide first of its kind technology for near zero emissions of coal-gasification power plants that will be extracting hydrogen from fossil fuels. The purpose of the FutureGen prototype is to generate electricity from burning coal, capture the hydrogen and sequester the CO2 and other noxious fumes.
Hydrogen will be sold as a valuable commodity upon the open market for industrial uses and for other uses such as for hydrogen cars, stationary fuel cells and other leading edge technology. With China and the U. S. having the world’s largest supplies of coal reserves it’s important to keep the ball rolling in regard to clean coal research and development.
One day those smoke stacks will be a thing of the past and the dependence upon foreign fossil fuels will give way to the homegrown variety. Burning coal in any way, shape or form may not be seen as the ideal fuel of the future, but if we’re going to do it anyway, why not do it cleanly and produce high grade hydrogen in the process?