U of I recipient of federal funding

Kevin O’Brien, Director of the Illinois Kevin O’Brien, Director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois, explains the ­importance of the center’s work in carbon capture technology.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have selected nine projects to receive approximately $6.5 million in federal funding. The University of Illinois is the recipient of $1,073,811 in research funds for large pilot testing of Linde/BASF Advanced Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Technology at a coal-fired power plant.

This funding opportunity announcement, issued in August 2017, is a $50 million funding opportunity for ­projects supporting cost-shared research and development to design, construct, and operate two large-scale pilots to demonstrate transformational coal technologies.

DOE has supported a range of potentially transfor­mational coal technologies aimed at enabling step-change improvements in coal-­powered systems. Some of these technologies are now ready to ­proceed to the large-scale pilot stage of development.

The University of Illinois, Champaign, project will design, ­construct, and operate an advanced post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system at a coal-fired power plant. In Phase I, the University of Illinois will complete a ­feasibility study and select a host site; all in an effort to dramatically reduce CO2 from coal plants.

Illinois has a large interest in the research. Affordable coal generation helps keep Illinois’ electricity rates below the national average. And Illinois is a major coal producer with the fourth largest reserves in the U.S.