DOE's Mathematical Ineptitude Could Set Carbon Capture Back 10 Years


Last year the Energy Department withdrew support from funding FutureGen, a near zero emission coal plant that focused on carbon capture and sequestration. The logic at the time was that the cost of the plant has grown too large, nearly doubling. Too bad that logic was based on bad maths.

NY Times: According to the report, in calculating the costs of the project, the Energy Department mistakenly compared two numbers that should not have been used together. One cost estimate was made in so-called constant dollars, reflecting the purchasing power of a dollar in 2005, and the other in dollars as they would have been spent over the following few years, worth less each year because of inflation.

The Bush administration said the projected cost had nearly doubled, to $1.8 billion from $950 million; the auditors said it had gone to $1.3 billion, up 39 per cent.

The government was going to pick up the 74% of the tab on the project, with private and foreign investors handling the rest. Now that the correct numbers are in, Energy Secretary Steven Chu says he’ll consider looking into the project once again.

cancelling the project, which already has $174 million in government funding, could hold carbon capture technology back by 10 years.

(Image via Flickr)

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