Coal company Peabody Energy has become the first non-Chinese equity partner in GreenGen, a project to develop China’s first near-zero emissions coal fueled power plant with carbon capture and storage.

Peabody has taken a six per cent stake in the $1 billion project, which is led by China Huaneng Group and which will design, develop and operate an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant near Tianjin, southeast of Beijing.

The GreenGen project design and review is complete, according to Peabody. A site has been selected at the Lingang Industrial Park, and construction is expected to commence in early 2008.

The first 250 MW phase of the plant is expected on line by 2009. Later phases could see the plant expanded to 650 MW.

The project plan envisages multiple phases for additional generation and carbon capture.

GreenGen believes the site is in an optimum location near a number of chemical facilities that create opportunities to utilise the project’s syngas, heat and byproducts and power, while storing carbon dioxide to provide enhanced oil recovery.

“We are pleased to have Peabody Energy join GreenGen as a leading coal company to advance this important energy and environmental project,” said President of China Huaneng Group Xiaopeng Li. “Peabody’s participation represents another important step forward in voluntary global partnerships to meet long-term energy challenges, promote a cleaner environment and create technology solutions to address concerns about climate change.”

Other companies involved in the project include the China Datang Corporation, the China Huadian Corporation, the China Guodian Corporation, the China Power Investment Corporation, the Shenhua Group, the China National Coal Group and the State Development and Investment Corporation.