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Chu Seeks Global Effort on Cleaner Coal Plants

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu wants the United States to join with other countries on a "true engineering collaboration" to capture CO2 from coal-burning power plants. Testifying today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Chu said that he's been talking with science ministers from China, the United Kingdom, and other European countries about their plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars or more to test technologies for capturing carbon from power plants. He's been making "lots of phone calls," he said, to figure out exactly what projects are planned. The goal is to "parse out the turf" and avoid duplication.

Chu also hinted at a future for FutureGen, a carbon-trapping power plant that the Department of Energy canceled last year. "We're taking a fresh look at FutureGen," he said. "We want to go forward with it in some sort of modified way." However, he said the project will have to be scaled back: DOE pulled out when the estimated cost reached $1.8 billion.