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US: So much for the future of FutureGen

THE government has pulled the plug on development of a high-tech, experimental power plant that promised to be the answer to the US' quest for clean-burning, affordable, coal-based electricity

After limping along for seven years, the FutureGen project was replaced with a proposal for a facility that would use another technology that, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), could accomplish the same goal at a lower cost. Plans for the original FutureGen plant, which the DOE now refers to as FutureGen 1.0, date back to February 2003. At that time, the George W Bush Administration unveiled plans for a 275 megawatt (MW), first-of-its-kind facility that would turn coal into synthetic gas and then remove impurities from the syngas before it is burned to generate electricity. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the process would be stored permanently underground, instead of being releas

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