The United States has 25 percent of the world’s coal reserves. Coal provides a safe, secure, domestic source of affordable energy, but it comes with a challenge: how to generate power from coal while dramatically reducing the emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. DOE seeks to answer that challenge with its proposal to build FutureGen, a next-generation power plant cost-shared with industry and international partners. Announced by the President in 2003, FutureGen would generate electricity and hydrogen from coal with near-zero atmospheric emissions. The 2007 Budget provides $54 million toward design and construction of the project, while providing an additional $268 million for R&D on technologies that will be used in FutureGen and similar next generation coal-fueled power plants, including fuel cells, turbines, coal gasification, carbon sequestration, and hydrogen separation. The Budget also ensures that unexpended funds available from prior years’ clean coal projects are available for future funding of the FutureGen project. Funding in the 2007 Budget nearly completes the President’s 2000 campaign commitment to provide $2 billion over 10 years for clean coal technology research, four years ahead of schedule.
The Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) is a joint Government-industry partnership to strengthen U.S. energy security by developing fuel cells for high-efficiency generation of electricity and hydrogen from coal or natural gas. The SECA program leverages private-sector ingenuity by providing Government funding to industry teams developing fuel cells, as long as the teams continue to exceed a series of stringent technical performance hurdles. This novel incentive structure has generated a high level of competition between the teams and an impressive array of technical approaches. The SECA program also develops certain core technologies that can be used by all the industry teams to avoid duplication of effort. The program exceeded its 2005 performance targets, and it is on track to meet its goal for an economically competitive technology by 2010.
FYI, the solid oxide fuel cell stack I created and designed for an US SECA program was included US federal government 2007 budget as a showcase of the fuel cell technology advancement. The information is on Page 93.