The Chicago Clean Energy Project
A rendering of what the proposed facility will look like from the southwest when it is completed.
A significant portion of the 140-acre site will require environmental remediation before construction can begin. Approximately $20 million of the estimated $3 billion in development costs are currently earmarked for this purpose, making it one of the largest brownfield redevelopments undertaken in Illinois. Currently, a manmade mountain of petcoke resides near the site. That mountain could all but disappear when the facility is in full operation, thus removing an ongoing pollution source while at the same time guaranteeing stable natural gas prices for millions of Illinois citizens.
Petcoke is a waste product produced during the refining of crude oil. For decades it was sold as a cheap fuel to the steel mills that ringed the Lake Michigan basin and was used in their massive ovens. When the mills closed the coke began to pile up at the oil refineries that remain in the basin area. Eventually buyers were found in developing nations, and today much of the petcoke produced is shipped by barge and rail to the Gulf Coast where it is loaded aboard ships and sent to mills in Mexico, South America and Asia. Without the environmental controls imposed on domestic firms, the pollution from those mills is then sent back to the United States by way of the atmosphere that we all share.
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Posted by FanningCommunications
on Apr 2nd, 2012 and filed under Feature Story
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