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Year of the Niagara Escarpment

by Jean BahrJean Bahr | 27 Mar 2009 18:11
The Wisconsin State Legislature has adopted a resolution declaring 2010 the Year of the Niagara Escarpment.

The Wisconsin State Legislature has adopted a resolution declaring 2010 the Year of the Niagara Escarpment. According to Representative Al Ott (quoted by the Door County Daily News), who authored and introduced the resolution "Assembly Joint Resolution 1 will promote awareness and education to this distinctive landscape. The Niagara Escarpment will be acknowledged as an essential geologic and natural resource to our State." It is nice to see this type of recognition of geologic features and the associated natural resources by a state government. I don't know any of the history of this resolution, but would be interested to hear more about how it came about. It would also be nice to share other stories of recognition of "geoheritage" sites at the state or local level.

Comments: 0 | category: Policy Discussion by Area / North-Central

Is FutureGen the best way to develop clean coal technologies?

by geolojongeolojon | 18 Feb 2009 03:52
The Department of Energy withdrew its support for the original FutureGen project, citing rising costs as the main reason They noted that IGCC, which was to be the process used to generate electricity in the FutureGen plant, was already in use at two sites in the US (the Wabash plant near Terre Haute, IN., and the Polk plant near Lakeland, FL). Therefore, DOE said, further experimentation with IGCC was an unnecessary expense and the funds for construction of the Futuregen plant could be better spent supporting development of carbon capture and geological sequestration at existing IGCC and other generating technologies scattered across the country. Should funds be redirected to support building the experimental Futuregen plant at the geologically tested and proven site near Mattoon, IL, or should the funds be directed, as proposed by DOE, toward carbon capture and geological sequestration at other sites where little testing of the suitability for geological sequestration has occurred.

When announced by the Department of Energy in February 2003, the FutureGen project was described as "one of the boldest steps our nation has taken toward a pollution-free energy future." According to Secretary Abraham, "knowledge from FutureGen will help turn coal from an environmentally challenging energy resource into an environmentally benign one. The prototype power plant will serve as the test bed for demonstrating the best technologies the world has to offer." [See] As described by the FutureGen Alliance, the industrial partnership formed under DOE's direction to build the plant, the commercial-scale plant "will prove the technical and economic feasibility of producing low-cost electricity and hydrogen (emphasis added) from coal while nearly eliminating emissions. It will also support testing and commercialization of technologies focused on generating clean power, capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide, and producing hydrogen. In the process, FutureGen will create unique opportunities for scientific exploration, education, and stakeholder engagment." [See] FutureGen's publicity continues to emphasize the value of demonstrating the combination of an integreated gassification combined cycle power plant, carbon capture and sequestration, and hydrogen formation and its use as a possible fuel for electricity generation. See]. The site near Mattoon, Illlinois, selected for the site has a geologic setting that is ideally suited for sequestration of the carbon dioxide that will be produced by the coal gasification process. [See]
President Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have clearly indicated that they believe that all forms of energy must be exploited and developed in order to overcome our dependency on fossil fuels for transportation and for electricity generation in the US and throughout the world. Many new technologies are needed. By redirecting the FutureGen project funds, the DOE has delayed its implementation by at least 3 years (compared to the original 2012 completion date for the FutureGen plant), and eliminated the possibility of experimenting (at the proposed FutureGen plant) with hydrogen produced from coal gasification as a fuel for running gas turbines to generate electricity.
I would appreciate other members responding to this posting and allowing me to consider your points of view regarding the reactiviation of the Futuregen site at Mattoon, IL. If there seems to be significant support for and interest in this approach, we can discuss online a strategy to communicate our suggestions to the appropriate public policy makers. I look forward to hearing from you.

Comments: 2 | category: Policy Discussion by Area / North-Central

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