Dr. Michael Karmis and VCCER Lead Proposal on Carbon-Capture and Storage

Nicholas T. CamiciaBLACKSBURG, Va. – A coalition led by Virginia Tech’s Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER), under the direction of Dr. Michael Karmis, has applied for federal stimulus funding to cover up to half of the estimated $580 million cost of a carbon-capture and storage demonstration project proposed for a power station being built by Dominion (NYSE: D) in Wise County, Virginia.

Carbon dioxide removed from the station’s air emissions at the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center would be moved by pipeline for permanent storage in unmineable coal seams and underground saline formations in the region. A side benefit may be enhanced production of methane, the primary component of natural gas, from the coal seams.

The grant request was filed last week by the Virginia Tech Foundation on behalf of a project team that also includes Dominion subsidiary Dominion Virginia Power, The Southern States Energy Board, Marshall Miller and Associates, and others.

Dominion Virginia Power would lead the carbon-capture portion of the demonstration project. The company’s 585-megawatt Virginia City power station, which is scheduled for completion in 2012, is designed to burn coal, waste coal called “gob” and biomass. It also is designed to be carbon-capture compatible, with space dedicated for carbon-capture equipment included at the site. The carbon-capture demonstration equipment is designed to remove up to 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide each day from the station’s emissions.

“The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center was designed from the start to minimize its environmental footprint,” said David A. Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation. “This project will be another important stride in that direction.

“Beyond that, the project will produce a multi-million-dollar benefit for the economy of Southwest Virginia by creating additional jobs at the station and generating additional state and local tax revenue.”

Dr. Michael Karmis is Stonie Barker Professor in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech and is the director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, whose mission is to research, coordinate, disseminate and examine coal and energy-related issues critical to the Commonwealth.

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Dominion News Release, August 25, 2009