About half of the electricity Americans consume comes from coal, and China’s economic boom is being fueled by the dirty-burning stuff. So while we’d prefer an end to all coal, technologies to capture and store the carbon emissions from coal plants will just have to help us out in the meantime. The DOE said today that it has awarded the first three large-scale carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the largest single set of projects in the world to date.
The three projects — the Plains Carbon Dioxide Reduction Partnership, the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, and the Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration — will test the storage of 1 million or more tons of CO2 in deep reservoirs. The basins supposedly have the capacity to store over 100 years of CO2 emissions, and the DOE will invest $197 million over ten years, subject to Congressional approval. Including partnership cost share, the total value of the projects is $318 million.
For now the technology of capturing and storing carbon emissions is unproven, expensive and still in the research stage. And clean coal technologies in general are highly controversial. Though that hasn’t stopped the venture world from investing in startups like GreatPointEnergy and Secure Energy. Check out the release for details on the individual projects.