management structure at NETL, and the responsibility for managing Vision 21 is vested in a small steering committee.
The goals of Vision 21 are extremely challenging and ambitious. As noted in the Vision 21 Technology Roadmap, if the program meets its goals, Vision 21 plants would essentially eliminate many of the environmental concerns traditionally associated with the conversion of fossil fuels into electricity and transportation fuels or chemicals (NETL, 2001). Given the importance of fossil fuels, and especially coal, to the economies of the United States and other countries and the need to utilize fossil fuels in an efficient and environmentally acceptable manner, the development of the technologies in the Vision 21 Program is a high priority.
This report contains the results of the second National Research Council (NRC) review of the Vision 21 R&D Program. The first review of the program was conducted by the NRC Committee on R&D Opportunities for Advanced Fossil-fueled Energy Complexes. It resulted in the report Vision 21, Fossil Fuel Options for the Future, which was published in the spring of 2000 (NRC, 2000). At that time, the Vision 21 Program was in an embryonic stage, having been initiated by DOE in 1998-1999. The NRC report contained a number of recommendations for DOE to consider as it moved forward with its program; DOE’s responses to many of these recommendations are considered in Chapter 3. Now, 2 years after the first review, DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coal and Power Systems requested that the NRC again review progress and activities in the Vision 21 Program. In response, the NRC formed the Committee to Review DOE’s Vision 21 R&D Program—Phase I. Most of the members of this committee also served on the committee that wrote the earlier report (see Appendix A for committee biographical information).
The present report is organized into three chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the Vision 21 Program and presents background information. Chapter 2 presents strategic recommendations for the program as a whole. Chapter 3 focuses on the individual technologies. This Executive Summary brings forward from Chapter 2 three major issues that the committee believes are of the highest priority from a programwide strategic standpoint—namely, what the focus of the program should be, how it should be empowered to accomplish its goals, and what analytic capabilities it should have to evaluate technological approaches for reaching its goals. At the same time, it reiterates the five most important of the nine recommendations in that chapter. Also, based on the premise that some of the technologies in Chapter 3 are more essential than others to realizing Vision 21 goals, the committee selected five high-priority recommendations from that chapter and reiterates them here in the Executive Summary.
The Vision 21 Technology Roadmap was the outcome of a workshop in August 2000 that attempted to identify barriers to the successful development of