By MATTHEW DALY
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Energy Department said Thursday it has awarded $84 million to 18 projects across the country to help limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The projects focus on so-called carbon-capture technologies intended to limit pollution blamed for global warming.
"Coal and other fossil fuels still provide 80 percent of our energy, 70 percent of our electricity and will be a major part of our energy future for decades," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "That's why any serious effort to protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change must also include developing, demonstrating and deploying the technologies to use our abundant fossil fuel resources as cleanly as possible."
Projects being funded include $12.8 million for SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., to test carbon-capture technology for use in commercial applications such as enhanced oil recovery or chemical operations. There is also $15 million to ION Engineering in Boulder, Colo., to test an advanced carbon-capture solvent under realistic conditions.
Moniz announced the grant awards as he hosted a conference of energy ministers from around the world focused on carbon-capture projects. The ministers represent nearly two dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India and Japan.
The group endorsed carbon capture as a key international strategy to slow the effects of climate change and cited five new projects -- including three in the United States -- as worthy of study. The projects bring to more than 40 the number of carbon capture projects the ministerial group is studying worldwide.
The new projects include a $5 billion coal-fueled power plant that Mississippi Power Co. is building in Kemper County, Miss., to spotlight its efforts to capture carbon dioxide emissions from burning lignite.
Moniz and other officials are scheduled to visit the plant on Friday.
Moniz and Tord Lien, Norway's minister of petroleum and energy, also announced a joint test center network that will evaluate carbon-capture technology.