The U.S. will invest $408 million in federal funds to share the costs of developing two new carbon capture and sequestration projects in coal fired power plants, Energy Sec. Steven Chu announced on Wednesday.

The projects aim to achieve at least 90 percent carbon dioxide capture efficiency, Chu said.

The projects will be developed by Basin Electric Power Cooperative which was granted $100 million and Hydrogen Energy International LLC, a joint venture owned by BP Alternative Energy and Rio Tinto, given $308 million.

"Today's announcement represents a major step forward in the fight to reduce CO2 emissions from coal-based power plants. These new technologies will not only help fight climate change, they will also create new jobs and position the United States as a leader in carbon capture and storage technologies for many years, ' said Secretary Chu in a statement today.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative will partner with Powerspan and Burns & McDonnell and invest the funds to capture and sequestrate carbon dioxide from its Antelope Valley Station, located near Beulah, North Dakota.

Hydrogen Energy International will design, build and operate an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant in Kern County, California. It will take blends of coal and petroleum coke and convert them into hydrogen and CO2. The gases will be separated: the hydrogen gas will be used to fuel a power station and the CO2 will be transported to oil reservoirs and used for enhanced oil recovery.

Hydrogen Energy aims to capture more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The selection of the two projects is part of the third round of the Clean Coal Power Initiative, a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry to increase investment in low-emission coal technology by demonstrating advanced coal-based, power generation technologies.