Brazos Valley to Try for Futuristic Plant

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It's brand-new and it could find it's way to Texas. It's called FutureGen, a project initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy to build a plant which would turn coal into hydrogen-rich gas without releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.

"It's a demonstration," Tom Wilkinson with the Brazos Valley Council of Government said. "It's a project to build a plant that would reduce the carbon dioxide emission or green house gas."

The plant will be built at a site selected from 50 states, one site nominated from each state. In November Texas got a head start, sending out letters to the 24 councils of government. Only nine met the criteria.

Bryan's Brazos Valley council of government is one of the nine councils in the state of Texas to send in a proposal for the billion dollar project. The council here says they remain positive about the outcome.

Tom Wilkinson with the BVCOG says the Brazos Valley meets all criteria. The pollutants in the air are low to none, there is oil as well as coal, and the projected site the council selected in Leon County, which they have an option on, has rail access and water. Plus the Brazos Valley already has several operating power plants and one in the works in Robertson County, plus there's Texas A&M.

"I think there will be a tremendous benefit for A&M," Wilkinson said. "It's good for research, but it's an asset to our application for A&M to be here. It has facilities that will make it attractive for this consortium to do their work."

The plant would also bring dollars to the region and good paying jobs, but it will take a while before the site is selected. Wilkinson says they expect to find out what Texas site is chosen by early March, then that site will go up against other states.

80-percent of the plant would be paid for by the department of energy,
the remainder would be covered by the coalition of partners, including energy companies in the U.S. and two foreign countries.

The company hopes this plant will be the first of many to use this clean-air technology.