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Bureau of Economic Geology Plays Leading Role in Texas’ Quest for FutureGen

The University of Texas Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) has been a leading contributor to Texas’ effort to host the $1.5 billion FutureGen project.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) has been a leading contributor to Texas’ effort to host the $1.5 billion FutureGen project.

Governor Rick Perry yesterday (Aug. 1) submitted the state’s final offers for the project to the FutureGen Alliance.

FutureGen is a $1.5 billion initiative to build the world’s first near-zero emissions fossil fuel energy facility. Co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the FutureGen Alliance, FutureGen will gasify coal to generate electricity and produce hydrogen and capture and store CO2. The technologies demonstrated, refined and commercialized at this prototype power plant will lead to the deployment of similar clean energy facilities throughout the world-and help to shape the global energy future.

"We are extremely proud of the expertise the Bureau of Economic Geology provided that enabled Texas to compete for this project," said University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. "This undertaking promises to develop technology that will allow our state and nation to produce the cleanest electricity the world has ever seen using coal as the fuel source."

Texas has two sites, Odessa in West Texas and Jewett in East Texas, among the four finalists in the nationwide competition for the project. The other two finalists are Mattoon and Tuscola, Ill. The Alliance is expected to select a host site by the end of 2007.

"Today’s submission of technical and scientific information, and state financial incentives, culminates two years of an exhaustive, in-depth effort to make Texas the home of this historic energy project. This cooperative initiative brought together academia, industry, state and federal governments and the local communities in Odessa and Jewett in a way that makes all Texans proud," added Powers.

"We appreciate the confidence Gov. Perry and Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael L. Williams placed in the Bureau of Economic Geology when it entrusted the Bureau with a leadership role in developing the Texas proposals," said Eric Barron, dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences.

"The FutureGen Texas team, under the direction of Bureau Director Dr. Scott Tinker worked countless hours putting together two outstanding proposals for this world-class research and development project," said Barron. "The quest for FutureGen is a great example of the University of Texas at Austin’s involvement in cutting-edge projects that will change the way we live."

"The role Chairman Michael Williams, who chairs the FutureGen Texas Advisory Board, played in moving Texas to the final four was vital. Texas could not have a better leader than Chairman Williams in an endeavor of this size and scope. Texas’ success on FutureGen can be directly attributed to the vision of Chairman Williams and the doors he opened across Texas and in Washington," Tinker said.

For more information contact: Marc Airhart, Jackson School of Geosciences, 512-471-2241.