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President Bush's 2004 Budget Looks to Future of Coal

(February 9, 2003) U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Fuels, Mike Smith, was in Lexington yesterday to present the President's 2004 budget proposal relating to the high-tech future of coal. He was also on hand to support UK researchers, who were recently awarded almost 9M to investigate ash utilization. UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) scientists Tom Robl and Jack Groppo are co-principal investigators. They will be working with LG & E Energy on a project to reduce the amount of landfill space needed to store ash from coal-burning power plants. To accomplish this, they will use $4.5 million in funds from the DoE to develop a facility at the LG&E plant in Ghent, Kentucky to turn coal ash into a cement substitute. Cement manufacturing is one of the highest generators of carbon dioxide of any industrial process. Substituting ash for Portland cement could lead to reductions of carbon dioxide. LG&E put up $3.4 million of its own funds for the project, and UK $1 million.

Secretary Smith said that for a third year in a row, the Department proposes to increase funding for research into better ways for coal plants to meet future air emission requirements, boost efficiencies, and eliminate carbon emissions. The Energy Department is proposing to allocate $321M in fiscal 2004 to continue the President's Coal Research Initiative, up 1.6 percent from 2003 and 21 percent over the 2002 request. The three priority areas for the president's Clean Coal Research Initiative are: the clean coal commitment, climate change solution for coal, and securing coal's role in tomorrow's "Hydrogen Economy."

Date of News Release: February 9, 2003

Additional Information: Marybeth McAlister Phone: 859-257-0224.

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