News Release

Release Date: April 09, 2014

DOE Marks Major Milestone with Startup of Recovery Act Demonstration Project

Public-private partnership advances carbon capture technologies for America’s clean energy future

TAMPA, FL. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy joined RTI International (RTI) and Tampa Electric Company (TECO) to celebrate the successful startup of a pilot project to demonstrate a warm gas cleanup carbon capture technology in a coal gasification unit at the TECO Polk Power Station near Tampa, Fla. The project, which is approximately $3 million under budget, included $168 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"Fossil fuels will be a major part of America’s energy supply for decades to come, and today’s demonstration is a major step forward in the effort to develop and deploy our coal resources in the cleanest way possible," said Dr. Julio Friedmann, DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal, who spoke at the event. "This partnership between the Department, RTI, and Tampa Electric represents our commitment to fostering the next generation of carbon capture technologies that drive down costs, increase efficiency, and help ensure a sustainable future for America’s energy supply."

The Department has a long history of collaboration with both RTI and TECO, starting more than 20 years ago when DOE helped fund construction of Polk Power Station—the first coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant in the United States, and one of the first in the world.

Currently, gas cleaning at power plants to remove contaminants such as carbon dioxide, mercury, and sulfur is accomplished with commercial technology only at low temperatures. IGCC technology augmented with warm gas cleanup offers the potential to improve energy efficiency while simultaneously removing pollutants from coal power plant emissions. The result of realizing this potential is a reduction in the overall cost of capturing carbon dioxide and other contaminant emissions from power plants while also increasing reliability. The scale-up of RTI’s warm gas cleanup technology at the TECO site is the first large-scale demonstration of such technology in an IGCC power plant.

Carbon dioxide capture in an IGCC plant also has the potential for local economic benefits. The technology increases the possibility that the captured carbon dioxide can be processed with other materials and beneficially converted into other products, such as fertilizer, or reused in enhanced oil recovery.