Construction has started on Commonwealth's first megawatt-scale carbon capture pilot unit at an operating power plant at Kentucky Utilities Company's E.W. Brown Generating Station, near Harrodsburg.
Upon completion of construction in the last quarter of 2014, the carbon capture pilot unit will test the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UKCAER)-designed system at slipstream-scale to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flue gas of an operating coal-fired power plant.
The Department of Energy Clean Coal and Carbon Management Deputy Assistant Secretary Julio Friedmann said: "This project reinforces coal as part of the President's "All of the Above" strategy, and underscores the viability of coal as part of America's low-carbon economy."
Following completion of testing period, key discoveries will be determined in mid-2016.
The 2MW thermal system will demonstrate improvements in the integration of carbon capture technology at an existing power plant, produce key discoveries for developing a safer, more efficient process, and test the feasibility of ideas and technologies for the integration of commercial-scale carbon capture systems.
The US DOE is investing $14.5m for the five-year project, while $5m will be provided by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems America, the University of Kentucky, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence, and the Carbon Management Research Group.
The Carbon Management Research Group involves government agencies, electric utilities and research organisations that include LG&E and KU Energy, Duke Energy, American Electric Power, and the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence.
LG&E and KU Chief Operating Officer Paul Thompson said: "The project we're celebrating today and the partnership that made it possible show our state and its utilities are working together to maintain our livelihood and find solutions to the challenges posed by ever-increasing carbon constraints."
Image: Officials cut the ribbon to begin construction of Kentucky's first megawatt-scale carbon capture pilot unit. Photo: © University of Kentucky.