advanced research. Research projects are under way in gasification, advanced combustion, turbine and heat engine technologies, and carbon sequestration:
The Gasification Technologies Program emphasizes R&D on gas cleaning and conditioning. Activities include research on (1) a two-stage process for the removal of H2S, trace metals, HCl, and particulates; (2) membrane processes for control of H2S, mercury, and CO2; and (3) sorbents for NH3 control.
FutureGen is a planned 275 MW prototype plant that will use coal gasification and other advanced technologies to produce electricity, hydrogen, and other products, with near-zero emissions at high efficiency levels. The facility will serve as a large-scale engineering laboratory for testing new clean power, CCS, and coal-to-hydrogen technologies. The plant is expected to begin operating in the 2012 time frame.
One of DOE’s fastest-growing programs in recent years has been the Carbon Sequestration Program, which focuses on CO2 capture and storage technologies with high potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The initial goal was to develop instrumentation and measurement protocols for direct sequestration in geological formations and for indirect sequestration in forests and soils. Other program goals are to begin demonstration of large-scale carbon storage options by 2008, and to develop—to the point of commercial deployment—systems for advanced indirect sequestration of greenhouse gases, also by 2008. Biological and chemical processes that convert CO2 to solid materials also are being investigated as means of sequestering CO2, and oceanic and terrestrial carbon sequestration has been studied (NRC, 2003b; DOE, 2007c). However, the principal focus of the DOE program is on geological sequestration, which is the only long-term storage option that has been demonstrated at a commercial scale—three large facilities are already in operation worldwide, and a number of smaller injection sites operate for research and development purposes (IPCC, 2005). In terms of capture technology, DOE’s target is to develop—to the point of commercial deployment—systems for direct capture and sequestration of greenhouse gases and pollutant emissions from fossil fuel conversion processes by 2015. The goal is for these systems to have near-zero emissions and approach a no-net-cost increase for energy services (DOE, 2007a).
DOE’s NETL also sponsors basic research through its Advanced Research Program. This program supports research in a variety of areas and strives to bridge the gap between basic research and the development of new systems capable of improving the supply and utilization of fossil energy resources.
DOE also manages several programs that focus on technologies to facilitate the production of hydrogen from coal for use in fuel cells and other systems. Two possible coal-based hydrogen production scenarios are considered in the program: (1) the production of hydrogen alone or in combination with electricity, and (2) the production of high-hydrogen-content liquid fuels that can be