China will join the Government Steering Committee of the FutureGen project, thereby making China the third country to join the United States in the FutureGen International Partnership. India joined in April 2006 and South Korea joined the FutureGen initiative in June 2006.
The US and China also signed an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Protocol renewing cooperation in advancing clean technology including solar, wind, and biomass. The agreements were made as an outcome of the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in Beijing.
We welcome China and their expertise to the FutureGen project. China and the US share a common energy resource in coal, so it is imperative that we work together to find ways to use coal effectively, efficiently, and without contributing emissions.—Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
The $1 billion FutureGen initiative is a ten-year effort announced in 2003 and launched in December 2005. (Earlier post.)
The FutureGen prototype plant, targeted to begin operation in 2012, is a nominal 275 MW facility that will remove and sequester carbon dioxide while producing electricity and hydrogen from coal, making it the environmentally cleanest fossil-fuel fired power plant in the world.
The size of the plant is driven by the need for producing technically and commercially relevant data, including the requirement for producing one to two million metric tons per year of CO2, to adequately validate the integrated operation of the gasification plant and the receiving geologic formation.
Once completed, the technology will be used by member countries to reduce emissions around the globe.
The FutureGen project is being led by the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc., a non-profit industrial consortium representing the coal and power industries, with the project results being shared among all participants, and industry as a whole. The alliance currently has 12 members, one of them—China Huaneng Group—from China.
In addition, the US-China Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Protocol renews the joint collaboration in developing and deploying energy efficient and renewable energy technology including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydrogen energy.
Separately, China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC) selected the Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) (earlier post) as the technology basis for four new nuclear power plants. Westinghouse is now a group company of Toshiba.
The AP1000 has been identified as the technology of choice for 12 new projected plants in the United States as well. The NRC approved the final design certification for the AP1000 reactor in January 2006.
FutureGen project update, December 2006