MAHONEY TOWNSHIP, PA - Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham today toured the future home of a facility that will convert "waste coal" to ultra-clean diesel fuel and electricity, bolstering America’s energy security and improving the environment. This cutting-edge facility is expected to bring 1,000 new construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs to Schuylkill County.
Secretary Abraham emphasized that the use of technology to harvest the energy in Pennsylvania's waste coal is an investment in the environment and the community that returns jobs and low-cost power. The $612 million coal-to-clean-fuels project also will pioneer a new generation of innovative technologies aimed at making coal environmentally and economically competitive.
“This project is an investment based on the principles expressed in President Bush's coal-related initiatives to use the resources our Nation was given,” Secretary Abraham said. “Pennsylvania's 250 million tons of waste coal may contain as much energy as three trillion cubic feet of natural gas - almost as much natural gas as the entire Nation required last year for utility power generation.”
Through traditional mining practices, waste coal piles are a potential source of soil and water contamination. Currently, as much as 200 million -300 million tons of this material exist in Pennsylvania.
Announced earlier last year, the Gilberton project was one of eight Round One Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) projects, valued at more than $1.3 billion that are expected to help pioneer a new generation of innovative power plant technologies that could help meet the President's Clear Skies and Climate Change initiatives. The Round One CCPI projects were the first in a series of competitions to be run by the Energy Department to implement President Bush's 10-year, $2 billion commitment to clean coal technology.
At Gilberton, Waste Management and Processors Inc. PTY., LLC will head a team to build and operate a power plant that will produce clean electricity, high-value industrial heat, and nearly 5,000 barrels per day of clean-burning diesel fuel from raw anthracite wastes. At the core of the advanced process will be a coal gasification process that will turn the wastes into a chemically-rich source of gas. A portion of the gas will be converted into diesel while the rest will be combusted to make electricity and steam. Planned for a 75-acre site adjacent to the existing Gilberton Power plant, the $612 million project is the largest of the eight projects selected. The Energy Department's share is proposed at $100 million.