WORCESTER, Mass., July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ThermoEnergy Corporation (OTCBB: TMEN), a diversified technologies company involved in power generation and wastewater recovery, announced today that its Unity Power Alliance (UPA) joint venture has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a grant that will fund further R&D on the company's patented pressurized oxy-combustion technologies for the production of clean electric power from coal.
The grant will go to the Utility Power Alliance, a joint venture between ThermoEnergy Corporation (OTCBB: TMEN) and ITEA, S.p.A.
The technology that UPA is developing (that the DOE will support) is called pressurized oxy-combustion. The basic approach is to burn coal at high pressures in highly purified oxygen, instead of in air at normal pressure as in conventional coal plants. That increases the efficiency of power plants. More important, it allows virtually all of the pollutants, including the CO2 that causes climate change, to be captured before they are emitted into the atmosphere.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is already tightening pollution regulations for coal plants and is proposing to limit CO2 emissions from power plants. UPA's pressurized oxy-combustion technology will allow existing coal plants to meet both these regulations and expected tougher regulations in the future. Retrofitting existing coal plants with UPA's technology represents a $65 billion potential market.
"We are proud that the U.S. Department of Energy has recognized the potential of the efforts of our newly formed joint venture with ITEA," said Cary Bullock, Chairman and CEO of ThermoEnergy Corporation.
"The DOE selection reinforces the promise of UPA's pressurized oxy-combustion technology to create completely clean, coal-fired power plants," added Unity Power Alliance Managing Director Robert Marrs. "The grant will enable us to boost the efficiency of the technology and to improve its ability to capture CO2."
The DOE funded research will help pave the way for a larger pilot project, which could also receive government support, said Marrs: "The overall goal is to lay the foundation for a 50 MW pressurized oxy-combustion power plant, which would be followed by a 320 MW commercial power plant."
The funding for the project will be provided through DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). NETL's goal is to advance technologies that can capture 90% of the CO2 from power plants at less than a 35% increase in cost of electricity.
UPA's member, ITEA, has developed a patented flameless combustion technology for coal plants and already operates a 5 MW thermal energy (MWth) in Italy. ITEA has also deployed a 15 MWth commercial plant in Singapore. ITEA has received significant support from Enel S.p.A., one of the world's largest utilities.
Other participants in the UPA Program are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).
"We are very pleased that Unity Power Alliance and the U.S. DOE will be able to push this technology forward," said Alvise Bassignano, Managing Director of at ITEA S.p.A. "We are already looking forward to the creation of cost effective and environmentally friendly coal fired power plants."
About Unity Power Alliance
Unity Power Alliance is a joint venture between ThermoEnergy Corporation (OTCBB: TMEN) and ITEA, S.p.A. The Mission of the Unity Power Alliance is to the develop and commercialize POXC™ "pressurized oxy-combustion" as a new, preferred clean combustion platform for repowering existing coal-fired power plants in the USA and building new power plants around the world with near zero air emissions. Unity Power Alliance's strategy is to form alliances with engineering companies, utilities, independent power producers, air separators, service companies, CO2 pipeline companies, transportation companies, and other key industry stakeholders who believe near zero emissions fossil fuel power production is a desirable and achievable near-term goal that will provide maximum benefit to the global environment and economy. Visit www.unitypoweralliance.com
Founded in 1988, Thermo Energy is a diversified technologies company engaged in the worldwide development, sales and commercialization of patented and/or proprietary technology for the recovery and recycling of wastewater from oil & gas hydrofracking operations, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, and power generation technologies. Additional information on the Company and its technologies can be found on its website at www.thermoenergy.com.
About ITEA S.p.A
ITEA S.p.A is an Italian engineering and technology company that has been acquired by Sofinter Group (http://www.sofinter.it/), one of the most dynamic European players providing high technology, energy-recovery solutions. ISOTHERM Pwr Flameless Oxy-Combustion patented by ITEA produces low-cost energy (steam and electricity) by flexible use of low ranking fuels such as waste, heavy oils, pet coke, and coal, while meeting strict environmental regulations. The ISOTHERM Pwr is a high-yield energy-recovery technology suitable for different fuels end-of-line residues from refinery, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and other process industries. Visit www.iteaspa.com.
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SOURCE ThermoEnergy Corporation