Whitesburg KY

Panel looks for ways to limit carbon dioxide


Government leaders joined utility executives Monday to announce the creation of a consortium that will pay for research into ways to reduce and manage carbon dioxide emissions from coalfired power plants.

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research pulled together the partners, who are expected to spend $24 million over 10 years to support research into large-scale systems that would capture carbon dioxide.

Gov. Steve Beshear and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. made the announcement. Five utilities will contribute $200,000 a year. State government will kick in matching funds of up to $1 million a year.

The research, Beshear said, is especially important for Kentucky, one of the nation’s top coal-producing states.

“Given the unique challenges Kentucky faces in a carbon-constrained world, our state will have to make a concerted effort to control emissions of carbon dioxide, while recognizing that coal is a vital part of our energy mix,” Beshear said.

Kentucky political leaders have been clamoring for more research into technologies that will allow coal to remain the key component in electricity generation. The coal industry employs some 17,000 people in Kentucky.

Besides carbon dioxide capture, researchers will also look into development of new combustion technology for coal and biomass that could lead to more efficient power production.

Other members include Dile Energy Kentucky, Kentucky Power Co., E.ON US, East Kentucky Power Cooperative and the Electric Power Research Institute.

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