Thursday, March 12, 2009

Economic stimulus package to provide funding for carbon capture, storage and related technologies

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM   If there were a contest for "Catchphrase of the Year", this year's winner would surely be "economic stimulus package". You cannot turn on a radio or television without hearing the phrase. But for all the talk, what do we know about how these packages will be applied in the real world?

The American economic stimulus packages takes the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestments Act (ARRA). An example of how the act will manifest itself in the energy field is presented in a US Department of Energy (DOE) press release:

"In response to ARRA, the Department of Energy's National Technology Laboratory (NETL) intends to issue, on behalf of the DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled "Carbon Capture and Sequestration from Industrial Sources". DOE plans to issue the FOA in March 2009.

The purpose of the FOA is to issue a new, two-part competitive solicitation: (a) Large-scale industrial CCS projects from industrial sources; (b) Innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 reuse.

(a) Large-scale industrial CCS projects from industrial sources: The large-scale CCS projects include integration of CO2 capture, transportation, and sequestration incorporating comprehensive Monitoring, Verification and Accounting (MVA). The projects may include plant efficiency improvements for integration with CO2 capture technology, and projects that couple capture with CO2-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to advance EOR as a sequestration option. The industrial sources include, but are not limited to, cement plants, chemical plants, refineries, steel and aluminum plants, manufacturing facilities, natural gas processing, and petroleum coke-fired and other power plants.... DOE's objectives are to operate at commercial scale in a commercial setting, technologies that make progress towards capture and sequestration of 75% of the CO2 that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere and at a scale sufficient to evaluate the full impact of the CO2 capture technology on plant operations, economics, and performance...

(b) Innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 reuse: The innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 use/reuse include, but are not limited to, CO2 mineralization to carbonates directly through conversion of CO2 in the flue gas or indirectly through capture of CO2 from air, use of CO2/algae for biomass production, conversion of CO2 to fuel and chemicals, and desalinization of water produced from CO2 storage in saline formations."

Blue Fuel Energy applauds DOE's efforts to launch such progressive proposals. We particularly appreciate the "outside the box" thinking involved in the pursuit of innovative concepts for the beneficial reuse of CO2 - concepts that Blue Fuel Energy may well use to produce carbon-neutral Blue Fuel/DME. If these are the kinds of projects that will be pursued through the various economic stimulus packages around the world, then we may well weather this economic downturn and emerge in a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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