The Palestine Economic Development Corporation is looking for the community’s assistance in forming a proposal to bring a $1 billion emissions-free 275-megawatt power plant and research facility to Palestine.

Known as FutureGen, the facility will generate electricity, produce hydrogen and capture carbon dioxide, according to Katie Tobin of the FutureGen Texas Team.

“The power plant will use a carbon capture technique to make the plant as close to emission free as possible,” Tobin said.

The plant will use a gasifier to convert coal into a synthesis gas made of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is suited to make decarbonized energy after a cleanup process, Tobin explained.

According to the FutureGen Web site, this process will replace the need for natural gas or oil in power production.

The simplified process, according to Tobin is coal goes in to the gasifier where hydrogen and carbon monoxide are produce. Oxygen (O) is then added to this mixture to form carbon dioxide (CO2) making a steam that turns the steam turbine creating the electricity. The by products of the process are hydrogen, CO2, sulfur and slag which are sold off to other companies which use these products in manufacturing.

The project, funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), is searching 16 different states, including Texas, for a place to locate this facility.

Each state will get to send one site proposal to the DOE.

To select the Texas site, Gov. Rick Perry formed the FutureGen Team, headed by state geologist Scott Tinker and railroad commissioner Michael Williams.

This team will recommend sites to the FutureGen Advisory Board, which will choose the final site for consideration by the DOE.

The city received the packet on the project on Tuesday. In the short time since then the PEDC has review it and determined with work Palestine and Anderson County could submit the proposal by the due date of Dec. 7.

The criteria for the site selection, as shown by the Request for Proposals (RFP), are strict, but PEDC president Fred Richardson is confident in Palestine’s ability to make the cut.

“We have a unique site for consideration,” Richardson said. “And Palestine and Anderson County has a better than average chance of being selected for consideration.”

There are six main categories with several points with subpoints under each section.

“This is a tough application process because of the quick turnaround on it — due to the East Texas Council of Governments by Dec. 7 — we need the communities help in many of these area’s,” Richardson said.

One of the main points is there must be locally a place to store the CO2 collected from the process.

“The CO2 is injected deep in the ground into a saline or brine aquifer,” Tobin said. “Or it can be injected into a declining oil well to increase production.”

Richardson said they needed help in studdying the geology of the area in order to determine if Anderson County could handle the CO2 storage and other issues.

Other areas of concern include: fuel flexibility, fuel handling, air emissions, coal resources, water supply, water discharge, air quality, National Environmental Policy Act requirements, knowledge of all oil wells in the region and make sure they are all capped and marked, having brine aquifers or salt domes to hold the C02, finding partner companies to purchase the byproducts of the energy production, pipelines to transport the CO2 and hydrogen, electricity grids and markets, transportation infrastructure, access to water and barge and the labor market to operate the plant.

According to Richardson, Palestine and Anderson County is ideally suited to meet the needs of the proposal.

“We have the water — up to 2 billion gallons per year — the land requirement of 100 acres, ideally located near raw materials, are a railroad hub with excellent access for shipping, have the facilities on the prospective site to treat sewer and wastewater and many other issues,” Richardson said. “But we need the community’s help to pull this together.”

Richardson added one of the key issues is community support.

“The RFP read: The Texas site must demonstrate a unified local support for the construction and operation of FutureGen,” he said. “The way to show that support is for everyone to get on board and within their area of expertise help put this proposal together before the deadline.”

The entire RFP will be available on the PEDC Web site http://www.palestinetexas.net/ by Monday or can be picked up on Monday at the PEDC offices, Suite 160, Anderson County Courthouse Annex.

For more information on the FutureGen project log on to the Web site at http://www.beg.utexas.edu/futuregentexas/ or call Fred Richardson at 903-729-5663 or the PEDC at 903-729-4100.