FutureGen’s private-sector partners name new CEO to replace Mudd

By David Mercer, AP
Thursday, September 23, 2010

FutureGen companies name new CEO

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The companies working with the federal government to find ways to use coal as a power source while storing its carbon dioxide emissions have a new CEO.

Kenneth Humphreys will be the new CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, replacing Michael Mudd, the alliance said in a news release Thursday. The move closely follows last month’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy that it will make fundamental changes in the now-$1.2 billion FutureGen project.

“As the alliance moves in a new direction, Ken’s talents will be vital to our success. It is absolutely essential that the world develop technology-based solutions that can enable the continued use of coal and cost-effectively reduce CO(2) emissions. FutureGen 2.0 will help us do that,” said Steven Winberg, chairman of the FutureGen Alliance Board of Directors and an executive with alliance member Consol Energy.

Mudd is retiring from the alliance, a group of coal companies and others that have worked for five years on the FutureGen power project. Humphreys has been managing director of the alliance.

The companies were recently surprised by the Energy department’s decision to change the project’s direction. The department decided to scrap long-standing plans to build a power plant in Mattoon, Ill., using a type of technology known as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle in favor of refitting an existing plant in Meredosia, Ill., with a relatively new technology, oxy-combustion.

Humphreys said FutureGen remains an important project.

“FutureGen remains the world’s best opportunity for U.S. and global companies to engage in a public-private partnership that will develop near-zero emissions electricity generation and CCS technology,” he said in the news release.

Mudd said the recent changes make this a good time for him to move on.

“This change in direction makes it the right time for me to pursue new ventures,” he said. “It has been an honor to lead the Alliance, and I am proud of our many accomplishments during the past five years.”

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