WORCESTER, Mass., July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ThermoEnergy Corporation (OTCBB: TMEN), a diversified technologies company involved in power generation and wastewater recovery, announced today that its Unity Power Alliance (UPA) joint venture has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a grant that will fund further R&D on the company's patented pressurized oxy-combustion technologies for the production of clean electric power from coal.
The grant will go to the Utility Power Alliance, a joint venture between ThermoEnergy Corporation (OTCBB: TMEN) and ITEA, S.p.A.
The technology that UPA is developing (that the DOE will support) is called pressurized oxy-combustion. The basic approach is to burn coal at high pressures in highly purified oxygen, instead of in air at normal pressure as in conventional coal plants. That increases the efficiency of power plants. More important, it allows virtually all of the pollutants, including the CO 2 that causes climate change, to be captured before they are emitted into the atmosphere.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is already tightening pollution regulations for coal plants and is proposing to limit CO 2 emissions from power plants. UPA's pressurized oxy-combustion technology will allow existing coal plants to meet both these regulations and expected tougher regulations in the future. Retrofitting existing coal plants with UPA's technology represents a $65 billion potential market. "We are proud that the U.S. Department of Energy has recognized the potential of the efforts of our newly formed joint venture with ITEA," said Cary Bullock, Chairman and CEO of ThermoEnergy Corporation. "The DOE selection reinforces the promise of UPA's pressurized oxy-combustion technology to create completely clean, coal-fired power plants," added Unity Power Alliance Managing Director Robert Marrs. "The grant will enable us to boost the efficiency of the technology and to improve its ability to capture CO 2." The DOE funded research will help pave the way for a larger pilot project, which could also receive government support, said Marrs: "The overall goal is to lay the foundation for a 50 MW pressurized oxy-combustion power plant, which would be followed by a 320 MW commercial power plant."