Energy Department Selects 3 Projects to Develop 21st Century Early "Co-Production" Energy Plant
DOE Fossil Energy Techline
Concepts for an early precursor of a multi-product, 21st century energy facility will begin taking shape in three projects chosen today by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Federal Energy Technology Center, part of the department's Office of Fossil Energy, has selected three companies - Waste Management and Processors, Inc., Frackville, PA; Dynegy Power Corp., Houston, and Texaco Natural Gas, Inc., Houston - to lead teams that will design a new type of energy facility called an "early entrance co-production plant."
Total value of the three projects could approach $30 million over the next three to five years.
The term "co-production" means that the facilities will be designed to produce some combination of electricity, heat, fuels, and chemicals. The concept of producing a varied slate of products - the exact combination of which could be tailored for specific markets -- is a departure from traditional energy facilities. Today's power plants, for example, typically generate only electricity as their primary product. Smaller "co-generation" units produce both heat and electric power.
The ideas envisioned in today's selection expand the multi-product concept. The
facilities to be designed by the companies will have the flexibility to produce electricity
along with such energy products as liquid transportation fuels, chemicals, and
"The ultimate objective is an energy facility that will extract virtually every useable molecule or BTU of energy from a range of fuels - coal, biomass, municipal waste, or possibly various mixtures of these fuels," said Robert Gee, DOE's Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy.
Gee said the projects selected today are a "first step" toward developing advanced technology modules that would ultimately be integrated into an ultra-high efficiency, near pollution-free energy concept the department has labeled "Vision 21."
Also related to Vision 21, the Energy Department has made a draft of its upcoming solicitation for various Vision 21 research projects available for public comment. The new solicitation is expected to be released on or about September 30 and will include three research areas: 1) enabling and supporting technologies that provide a technical foundation for Vision 21 modules or subsystems, 2) integration systems capability of combining two or more modules into a single plant, and 3) advanced design and visualization software that could be used to demonstrate a "virtual" plant.
The solicitation is available on the Federal Energy Technology Center's web site - http://www.fetc.doe.gov - under the "Business" category. Stakeholders are being asked to submit any questions or comments on the solicitation by August 20.
Research done by the three companies selected today will provide important insights into the ultimate Vision 21 facility. Each team will carry out a research, development and testing program that will culminate with preliminary engineering designs of a multi-product plant. If the concepts continue to appear feasible, the teams will have sufficient information to proceed with detailed engineering design and obtain private funding to construct and operate an "early entrance co-production plant."
Details of each selected project are:
The Federal Energy Technology Center will oversee the projects. The center, co-located at Morgantown, WV, and Pittsburgh, PA, manages a broad spectrum of energy and environmental programs.