From coal to carbon capture: Vintage Illinois power plant highlights challenges of energy transition

When the Abbott Power Plant began operation in September 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for a historic third term, the Battle of Britain raged over London’s skies, and the cartoon character Bugs Bunny had only recently made his official debut. Seventy-six years later, the heat and power generation plant in Champaign, Il. still supplies the majority of the energy for the University of Illinois’ flagship campus. Over the decades, Abbott has seen its share of history. Its development has been shaped by fickle market forces, geopolitical turmoil and rising environmental concern that stretch well beyond Illinois and the Midwest.