More than a year after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law, funds from the nearly $800 billion legislation continue to be awarded. Yesterday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the FutureGen 2.0 Industrial Alliance will receive $1 billion from the Recovery Act.

The FutureGen 2.0 project will focus on developing new technologies to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. A carbon storage site, a geologic sequestration research facility, and a craft labor training center will be located on an as-of-yet unselected site in Illinois. The project will bring approximately 900 new jobs to the state as well as an additional 1,000 jobs to suppliers for the project.

The project has morphed slightly from the original plan, which called for a new coal-fired power plant to be built near Mattoon, Illinois. Instead of building a new plant, an existing facility in Meredosia, Illinois will be repowered.

A planned carbon dioxide pipeline network will bring CO2 from the Meredosia coal-fired power plant to the new facility where it will be stored underground. This pipeline could ultimately prevent the release of one million tons of CO2 per year. The DOE as well as the FutureGen2.0 Industrial Alliance will choose a site for the new facility in early 2011.

Although the sequestration of one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year sounds like a great plan on paper, environmental organizations aren’t necessarily on board with this idea.

"How many billions of taxpayer dollars will we send down what is now just a hole in the ground before we recognize that pumping carbon pollution underground is nothing more than an industry pipe dream?" said Dan Howells, Greenpeace deputy campaigns director. Source: AP News

I’m all for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but I definitely think that moving away from coal is a better choice. I’m not a scientist but if this project isn’t as successful as researchers expect, that’s a quick $1 billion down the pipe.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.