Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summit Clean Energy Texas

coal-based IGCC / Polygen
plant gets air-quality permit

First-of-a-kind project passes
major regulatory hurdle

The proposed $2.2 billion "clean coal" plant in West Texas has passed a major regulatory hurdle, receiving approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for an air-quality permit earlier this week.

Summit Power Group's project is to use Wyoming coal while employing integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology to convert the coal to a clean "syngas", which will be used to produce electricity and other products, such as urea for fertilizer production. The plant is also designed to capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from the process and will be a "first-of-a-kind" plant in Texas, Summit said in announcing the permit.

"This is a milestone moment for America's energy economy and this project," said Summit Chairman Donald Hodel, who was energy secretary during the Reagan administration.

"We are delighted to be building this project in Texas, where federal, state and local elected officials have all worked effectively toward the same objective, namely to bring near-zero-emissions coal technology to the world marketplace," Hodel said.

Construction to start 2nd half 2011

The plant is to be built on 600 acres in Penwell, 15 miles southwest of Odessa. Construction is to begin in the second half of 2011 and operations should start in late 2014, said Laura Miller, Texas projects director for Summit and the former Dallas mayor.

The project "will be an economic boon to West Texas, creating more than 1,500 jobs at the peak of construction, 150 high-wage permanent jobs when the plant is operational, and 200 additional jobs in periods of major maintenance," Summit said.

The project has had a high profile because of the advanced technology it will employ. It has received $450 million in federal grants and therefore must undergo an environmental impact assessment, which is under way.

Earlier this year, Summit announced that the West Texas plant will employ technology and equipment for both the gasification process and the combined cycle power generating unit to be supplied by Siemens Corp.

"Overall cleanest" coal plant

Summit said the plant will be "overall the cleanest coal-fueled power project ever permitted in Texas," capturing not only the bulk of CO2 emissions, but also 99 percent of the sulfur, more than 95 percent of the mercury and more than 90 percent of nitrogen oxides.

Chemical processes will convert coal into clean-burning industrial gases used to generate electricity. The process creates a "pure stream" of CO2 that will be captured and sequestered, according to Summit.

The captured CO2 will be diverted to West Texas oil fields to boost oil recovery. This will complement or replace naturally occuring CO2 currently being supplied by pipeline from outside of the area. Reportedly, approximately one-third of the project's operating revenue will be derived from the sale of CO2 for this purpose.

The Summit plant is rated at 400MW gross generating capacity, but that is reduced to 214MW net output as a result of the heavy on-site plant power consumption to support the conversion process and the processing of plant byproducts. That still is enough capacity to power more than 200,000 homes, based on an often-cited yardstick of each megawatt providing enough power for 1,000 homes, Miller said.

Source: Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Miss. Power breaking ground
on Kemper County IGCC plant

Source: WLOX DeKalb, MS

Mississippi Power will break ground today on its next generation of power plants.

The company touts the $2.4 billion Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle ("IGCC") Plant as a step toward energy independence in Mississippi.

The company fought a long battle to get to this stage, including questions from the state Public Service Commission and protests from environmental groups. One of the big issues was how Mississippi Power would pay for the plant.

The company had originally proposed that it be allowed to pass along construction costs to customers right away. After hearings with the PSC, the company reached an agreement to delay adding those costs to power bills until 2012.

Mississippi Power selected Kemper County for the plant site because it has huge lignite coal reserves that remain largely untapped. Mississippi Power will take the lignite and turn it into a gas to be used to produce electricity.

Construction of the Kemper County plant will create about 1,000 jobs. Mississippi Power expects to create 260 permanent jobs. The first two stages of construction are scheduled to take all of 2011, with construction of the plant in 2012 and 2013. The Kemper County plant is expected to begin operations in 2014.

Miss. Power's website says "the local lignite will provide decades of low-cost fuel and avoid huge price swings associated with uncontrollable fuel markets. It is the lower cost fuel available - and with a 4 billion ton reserve in Mississippi - we Mississippi Power can secure a stable fuel source while reducing our dependence on foreign fuel for future generations, due to its abundance and affordability."

Ed note: The nominal 600MW (net) IGCC plant will utilize the Southern Co/KBR "TRIG" air-blown gasifier integrated with two Siemens SGT6-5000F gas turbine generators, the hot exhaust of which produces steam to drive a steam turbine generator. Southern Co. is the parent company of Mississippi Power. The project will enjoy a substantial financial boost from Federal tax credit incentives. The South Mississippi Electric Power Association has agreed to take a minor equity stake in the project.

The plant will include capture of 65% of the carbon in the lignite feedstock, giving it a carbon footprint approximately equal to that associated with a natural-gas fired combined cycle plant. The captured CO2 is expected to be fed into a pipeline for use in enhanced oil recovery or other uses.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 Gasification Technologies Council
Annual Conference Papers Now Available On Line

The 2010 GTC conference is now history, and quite an event it was. It took place November 1-3 in Wash DC and there were plenty of important project updates and technology developments that highlighted jam-packed program.

The event attracted more than 600 attendees from all over the world, and from a myriad of industries related to the growing application of gasification technologies as a preferred way to utilize a variety of energy feedstock.

With permission of the GTC, we are providing a copy of the conference program and direct links to all of the presentations.

Look for special coverage of the conference highlights in the upcoming issue of Gas Turbine World Magazine.

Jump to a date:
Monday, November 1 Tuesday, November 2 Wednesday, November 3

Sunday, October 31

1:00 - 3:30 pm GTC Fall Membership Meeting
4:00 - 7:00 Conference Registration - Registration Desk
5:00 - 7:00 Opening Reception - Exhibit Hall
top ↑

Monday, November 1

7:00 am Conference Registration and Check-In - Registration Desk
Continental Breakfast - Exhibit Hall
8:00 am Opening Sessions & Introductions - Marriott Ballroom
8:30 am Keynote Address
Matthew L. Wald
The New York Times
9:00 am Project & Technology Updates I
Session Chair: Lee Schmoe, Bechtel Corporation
E-Gas Technology 2010 Outlook
Phil Amick, ConocoPhillips
Updates on Key Projects on Three Continents
Keith White, GE Energy - Gasification
Heavy Residue Gasification in Today's World
Michiel Mak, Shell Gasificaion & Clean Coal Energy
Siemens Technology Advances and Project Development Activities
Harry Morehead, Siemens Energy, Inc.
KBR’s Transport Gasifier - Technology Advancements & Recent Successes
Siva Ariyapadi, Kellogg Brown & Root
10:30 am Break - Exhibit Hall
11:30 am Project & Technology Updates II
Session Chair: David Denton, Eastman Chemical
Further Developments and Commercial Progress of the BGL Gasification Technology
Hans Hirschfelder, Envirotherm GmbH
Update on New Projects & Design Development with the Lurgi FBDB Gasifier
Max-Michael Weiss, Lurgi GmbH
Technical Update of the MHI Air Blown and Oxygen Blown Gasifier
Hiromi Ishii, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Overview of the Kemper County IGCC Project Using Transport Integrated Gasification
Randall Rush, Southern Company Gasification
OMB Gasification - Industrial Application Updates of Slurry Feeding and Developments of Dry Feeding
Prof. Haifeng Liu, Institute of Clean Coal Technology
1:00 pm Lunch - Exhibit Hall
2:30 pm Emerging Biomass & Secondary Materials Gasification Opportunities I
Session Chair: R.A. Olliver, Aplethora Energy Services
PRB Coal and Coal/Biomass Gasification Activities at Emery Energy Company's New Pilot Facility
Benjamin Phillips, Emery Energy
Uhde Biomass and Coal Gasification: Applying Fluidized Bed and Entrained Flow Gasification
Karsten Radtke, Uhde Corporation
Biomass Gasification for the Production of SNG: A Practical Route through Available and New Technologies
Rosa Domenichini, Foster Wheeler S.p.A.
4:00 pm Break - Exhibit Hall
5:00 pm Emerging Biomass & Secondary Materials Gasification Opportunities II
Session Chair: R.A. Olliver, Aplethora Energy Services
Plasma Gasification: Integrated Facility Solutions for Multiple Waste Streams
Pieter van Nierop, Alter NRG Corp.
Poornima Sharma, Technip USA, Inc.
TPRI Technology and Future Fuels Projects Updates
William Douglas, Future Fuels LLC
Coskata's Syngas-to-Ethanol Platform
Ralph Corley, Coskata, Inc.
6:00 pm Adjourn
6:00 - 8:00 pm Reception - Exhibit Hall
top ↑

Tuesday, November 2

7:00 am Conference Registration and Check-In - Registration Desk
Continental Breakfast - Exhibit Hall
8:00 am Keynote Address
Donald Hodel
Chairman and Senior Vice President, Summit Power
8:30 am Energy Market & Environmental Gasification Drivers
Session Chair: Neville Holt, EPRI
Coal to SNG via Gasification: Efficiency, Environmental and Economic Benefits
Dale Simbeck, SFA Pacific
Implications of Greater Reliance on Natural Gas for Electricity Generation
Catherine M. Elder, Aspen Environmental Group
POSCO Gwangyang SNG Project
Cliff Keeler, ConocoPhillips
A New Look at Lignite: A Central European Perspective
Wojtek Ksiazkiewicz, SNC Lavalin
A Strategic Fuel Switch From Natural Gas to Local Lignite: Development of the Komsomolsk Gasification Project
Marco Kanaar, Gasification Solutions
10:00 am Break - Exhibit Hall
11:00 am Gasification's Carbon Management Advantage
Session Chair: Michael DeLallo, WorleyParsons
Overview of the DOE Industrial Carbon Capture & Storage Program
Darren Mollot, U.S. Department of Energy, Fossil Energy
Pathways to Improved IGCC Performance and Economics with Carbon Capture and Storage
Ron Schoff, EPRI
Advanced Hydrogen and CO2 Capture Technology for Sour Syngas
Jeff Kloosterman, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
CCS Options & Cost Reductions with New SELEXOLTM Flow Schemes
Raj Palla, UOP LLC
Wandoan IGCC with CCS Project - Development Challenges & Opportunities
Chris Walker, Stanwell Corporation
12:30 pm Lunch - Exhibit Hall
2:00 pm In Situ Coal Gasification
Session Chair: George Gruber, Black & Veatch
Update on the Linc Energy Chinchilla UCG Project
Don Schofield, Linc Energy
Swan Hills in Situ Coal Gasification and Power Generation
Doug Shaigec, Swan Hills Synfuels
3:00 pm Break - Exhibit Hall
4:00 pm Addressing Project Economics
Session Chair: Doug Todd, Process Power Plants LLC
Coal Gasification: Delivering Performance in Chinese Operations & Developing Technology Deployment Solutions
Jim Volk, Shell Gasification & Clean Coal Energy
The Cost Estimating Process for the Taylorville Energy Center
Jim Welniak, Tenaska
Revving Up Reliability, Availability & Maintainability: Applying Experience to Improve Plant Performance
DeLome Fair, GE Energy - Gasification
New Technologies and Projects Based on Topsoe's Knowledge of Downstream Gasification Technologies
Jens Perregaard, Haldor Topsoe A/S
Cleanly Unlocking the Value of Low Rank Coal
Carrie Thompson, Synthesis Energy Systems
Reduction of CAPEX in Coal Milling and Drying Units
Tobias Korz, Loesche GmbH
5:30 pm Adjourn (evening open)
top ↑

Wednesday, November 3

7:00 am Conference Registration and Check-In - Registration Desk
Continental Breakfast - Exhibit Hall
8:00 am Advances in Gasification Technologies I
Session Chair: Jenny Tennant, U.S. DOE/NETL
ConocoPhillips E-STR Technology Development for Lignite Gasification
Albert Tsang, ConocoPhillips
Scale-up of the RTI Warm Syngas Cleanup Process at the Polk Power Station IGCC
Raghubir Gupta, RTI International
Accelerating Commercialization and Deployment of Advanced Gasification Technology Through Multiphase Modeling
Chris Guenther, U.S. DOE/NETL
Ion Transport Membrane (ITM) Technology for Lower-Cost Oxygen Production
Robert Steele, EPRI
Building on History: the Next Generation of Technology
Joe Zuiker, GE Energy, Gasification
9:30 am Break - Exhibit Hall
10:30 am Advances in Gasification Technologies II
Session Chair: Phil Amick, ConocoPhillips
Compact Gasification Development & Test Status
Alan K. Darby, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
Results and Evaluations of the 5,000 Hour Durability Test at the Nakoso Air Blown IGCC Plant
Tsutomu Watanabe, Clean Coal Power R&D Co., Ltd.
Low-Swirl Combustion Technology for Advanced IGCC Systems
David Littlejohn, U.S. DOE/LBNL
Rectisol Wash Acid Gas Removal for Polygeneration Concepts Downstream of Gasification
Thomas Haberle, Ulvi Kerestcioglu, Linde Engineering
12:00 pm Conference Adjourns
top ↑

Monday, August 09, 2010



DOE shifts FutureGen technology to oxy-combustion

boiler retrofit and moves plant site to Meridosa IL

On August 5, the news was finally out in the open: the US DOE and the FutureGen Alliance had quietly struck a new deal that totally changes the face of the FutureGen project.

They are calling it "FutureGen2".

Enter oxy-combustion retrofit

Instead of continuing along the rocky path that effectively duplicates Summit Energy's Texas Clean Energy (IGCC) Project - already receiving some $350 million in DOE funding -and other IGCC+CCS projects, FutureGen2 will take the form of an oxy-combustion boiler retrofit of an existing 200 MWe pulverized coal-steam plant in Meridosa, IL – some 150 miles west of Mattoon.

So, what is left for little old Mattoon - the official winner of the original competition for the FutureGen IGCC project?

Well it could be worse. With FutureGen2 they get more than they would have gotten the first time the project was killed back in December, 2007.

But now, rather than providing a site for a new $2 billion state-of-the-art power plant, they get to host the end of a pipeline carrying the CO2 collected at the Meridosa plant, and to supply a place for the long-term storage deep under 400 acres of rural farmland.

The good news

Perhaps Mattoon feels otherwise, but the good news is that the announcement of FutureGen2 is a big step forward.

The announcement actually included the naming of a bona-fide host utility (Ameren Energy), and the major contractors - B&W and Air Liquide - to supply the new oxy-combustion boiler system that will produce steam to power one of the now-idle 200 MWe steam turbine generators at the Meridosa site.

The other good news - to this observer - is that the US DOE - in spite of the expected political fireworks - has shown signs of some real strategic thinking going on behind the scenes.

And for Mattoon, the region will be at the hub of a regional CO2 transportation infrastructure now being given a jump start by the project.

Change was coming

The fact that the Texas Clean Energy (IGCC) Project had received a $350 million award under Round 3 of DOE's Clean Coal Initiative, and is moving ahead nicely with a front-end engineering design (FEED) study being carried out by Siemens and Fluor - made it virtually impossible for the DOE to continue support of FutureGen as a parallel "state-of-the-art" IGCC project.

Other IGCC+CCS projects in Mississippi and California also appear to be moving ahead with DOE funding and/or other forms of government financial support.

Clearly, FutureGen missed it's window of opportunity and the choice was clear - kill it again or have it emerge in a different form.
Opting for change has again saved the project.

Oxy-combustion retrofit of existing coal-steam plants is recognized globally as an important option for the future of coal-based power generation in a carbon-restrained world.

In that light, the announcement of FutureGen2, although coming as a surprise, immediately made a lot of sense to anyone keeping an eye on the situation.

US needs oxy-combustion demo
Supporters of IGCC technology (as well as those in and around Mattoon) might bemoan the loss of what might have been substantial government support of another new IGCC+CCS plant.

But, in my opinion, the change in FutureGen's direction is the right way to go.

DOE's own studies have shown the economic benefits of oxy-fuel combustion technology as a means for retrofitting existing coal plants to achieve real reductions in CO2 emissions.

Moreover, there are already a number of significant oxy-combustion demonstration projects underway in Europe, where it is widely accepted that retrofit for CO2 capture is an imperative.

Yes, Mattoon, it may be difficult to swallow yet another disappointment, but the US needs to support the development of its own oxy-combustion technology, and to support a commercial-scale demonstration of the technology.

With so many old coal-steam plants scheduled to be shut down due to their high emissions and huge carbon footprint, it could be that retrofit with new oxy-combustion boilers will prove to be the most cost effective way to keep these old plants online.

Is oxy-combustion ready?
At the very least, the parallel development of the Texas Clean Energy Project and FutureGen2 will provide an excellent way to obtain actual field data from the two main competing clean-coal technologies, operating at commercial scale, thus helping the US map out the future of coal-based power generation.

Is oxy-combustion technology ready for the scale-up to 200 MWe? Some think not - and say that FutureGen2 may be doomed to failure without more R&D. But B&W has already operated a pilot test unit, and the scale-up risk is considered to be manageable.

It looks like we'll all find out before too long - as long as FutureGen2 can get on track and avoid missing this new window of opportunity.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dr. David H. Archer
Father of coal-based IGCC


Dave Archer, IGCC Pioneer - Westinghouse R&D
Adjunct Professor - Carnegie Mellon University

I guess that it's a personal thing with me, but the way I see it was Westinghouse's Dave Archer ("Dr. Dave") who should be considered as the father of the IGCC power plant concept.

And I'm saddened by the passing this past Thursday of an old friend, a nice guy and a technology pioneer.

Coal in gas turbines?
It was fall, 1973, when I joined the Westinghouse Gas Turbine Systems Division, and the Arab Oil Embargo was just taking effect. My first assignment, I soon learned, was to join the marketing effort that was going to save our business.

The days of cheap oil were over, and the buzz was all about "alternative fuels" for gas turbines.
I was told to call Dr. David Archer at our R&D Center and learn all about the one idea that was going to save us. I soon learned that he was working on new ways to use coal in gas turbines!

Coal in gas turbines? Of course. What else? Cheap and plentiful domestic coal.

Combined cycles just taking hold
Ironically, the nascent concept of combined cycle power generation using large oil- or gas-fired gas turbines was just beginning to take hold. Record levels of orders were rolling in from all over the country. But almost all of these orders were now being canceled due to uncertainties in the global fuels market.

At the same time, the Clean Air Act of 1972 had just been passed, and the pressure was on the industry to find a way to cleanly use high sulfur coals. The use of scrubbers on exhaust stacks was seen as technically unsound, and much too expensive.

Were these parallel major developments to mean the end for both large coal-fired steam plants and for combined cycle plants at the same time?

Was nuclear power really the only answer? (Anyone remember "Power too Cheap to Meter"?)

Was my career in gas turbines going to be a short one?

Luckily, there were believers
Luckily for Westinghouse gas turbines (and for Siemens some 25 years later?) there were at least a few in upper management who strongly believed in the future of the combined cycle power plant. Even if traditional fuel sources were now in question, they saw ways for the concept to survive and grow. (Remember, this was even before the word "cogeneration" was invented.)

At the same time, these foresighted people saw how the combined cycle power plant could even provide an alternative way - through the use of gasification - to use high sulfur coal and still meet the tough new emission standards that were about to be promulgated under the Clean Air Act.

Enter Dr. David Archer - and IGCC

At the time Dave Archer, a manager at the Westinghouse R&D Center, was heading a group of mostly chemical engineers working on advanced concepts of integrating both fluidized bed coal combustion and air-blown fluidized bed coal gasification with combined cycle power generation.

When I called him to learn about the alternative fuels path for survival I felt that I was talking with the guru - and the creator of a great new concept that was not only going to save Westinghouse gas turbines but also give my new job a whole new meaning.

Although this all happened well before the coining of the term Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, and the acronym "IGCC" (by EPRI? GE? both?), we were there - almost 40 years ago - at the beginning of a great idea.

Westinghouse was already testing low-BTU syngas fuel in modified W501B combustors, with DOE support, and we really thought that we were onto something very special.

A marketing strategy was developed to convince customers to stick to their plans to install our new PACE combined cycle plants. Our theme (sound familiar, even for today?):

  • Gas or Oil - Now
  • Syngas from Coal - Later

An idea that has come and gone - and come again
Well, a lot of water has flowed over the dam since then - and the idea of IGCC has come and gone and come again as the greatest thing since who-knows-what for improving the technology of coal-based power generation.

Entire careers in IGCC development and commercialization have also come and gone since I was first introduced to the idea by Dave Archer.

My own career with Westinghouse gas turbines lasted some 30 years. Unexpectedly, and thanks to Gas Turbine World, it returned to the promotion of IGCC about 5 years ago, shortly after I retired from Siemens-Westinghouse

Happily, I heard again from Dave Archer when he saw the series of articles that we were publishing in support of gasification and IGCC.
He was still working as adjunct professor at CMU teaching advanced power generation to graduate students.

In fact, it was only a few months ago that I last heard from him.

We had just posted the news item on the EPA putting pressure on the developers of the Kemper County (KY) IGCC project to consider natural gas as the primary fuel for their power plant, and their announcement that their IGCC plant was going "hybrid" - that is, separating the coal-to-gas plant from the gas-fired combined cycle plant.

Dave's comment - some 40 years after he fathered the concept as an answer to the Clean Air Act:

"It seems that EPA really wants to strangle IGCC before it takes a real breath.
Keep the faith?"

Fondly remembering Dr. Dave.

Harry Jaeger
Gasification Editor
Gas Turbine World Magazine

The following is reprinted from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:


On Thursday, June 24, 2010, age 82 of Ross Township formerly of West View.

Beloved husband of the late Justine (Garnic) Archer. Loving father of Catherine Archer, Miriam (Mac) McCann, Amy Archer & Marsi (Lance) Thrash; brother of Miriam Jeske, proud grandfather of Charles, Andy, Justine & Vivian McCann, and Jordan David, Tim & Bailey Thrash; also survived by 6 great-grandchildren; longtime friend & companion of Myrna Rombach.

Family will welcome friends Monday 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. at the SCHELLHAAS FUNERAL HOME, INC., 388 Center Ave., West View 15229. Service will be in Emanuel's Ev. Lutheran Church, 10 N. Fremont Ave., Bellevue 15202 on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.

Dr. Archer was retired, Westinghouse Electric Corp.; Adjunct Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Organist and Music Director, Emanuel's Ev. Lutheran Church; Member, National Academy of Engineers; Member, American Guild of Organists.

If desired memorials may be made in Dr. Archer's name to the Intelligent Workplace Program, Carnegie Mellon University, P.O. Box 371525, Pgh., PA 15251-7525 or Emanuel's Ev. Lutheran Church.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Memorable Memorial Day for

Kemper County IGCC Project

Mississippi Power announces that it will move forward to construct a 582MW IGCC power plant as Public Service Commission relaxes financial restrictions on the project.

May 28, 2010

Mississippi Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company, said that it will formally accept the terms of the revised order of the state regulators allowing for the construction of an advanced design IGCC power plant, which is expected to come online by 2014.

The utility said that the proposed plant would use Mississippi lignite. This locally available and relatively low-cost energy source will be added to its existing fuel mix of natural gas and coal, and will allow the company to mitigate the volatility and growing costs associated with other fuels.

Mississippi Power had asked the Mississippi Public Service Commission to reconsider conditions it had previously placed on the utility's plan to build the 582MW plant, including a recoverable cost cap of $2.4 billion.

The utility had claimed that the $2.4 billion price cap along with other conditions "created unacceptable risks to the company, our customers, our lenders and our investors."

After rehearing the case, the commission voted 2-1 to raise a price cap it placed by nearly $500 million to $2.88 billion and to allow the utility to begin charging customers for some plant costs starting in 2012, at least 2 years before it is expected to begin producing electricity.

Commission Chairman Brandon Presley, who opposed the plant in April as too risky for ratepayers, voted against the revised order. In a dissenting opinion, Presley criticized the action by the other two commissioners in acquiescing to the utility's objections.

Other project critics -- owners of merchant power plants in the region and at least one environmental organization -- said the utility was counting on high natural gas prices to justify the plant's economics at a time when the US natural gas supply is climbing with new production that should keep costs in check.

The Kemper County plant will employ an advanced air-blown circulating fluidized bed "transport" gasifier (the "TRIG" system) developed by Southern Company and KBR, in conjunction with the US Department of Energy. It will be the first commercial-scale application of the technology in the US.

An earlier attempt by Southern, KBR and the DOE to develop a commercial-scale demonstration plant in Orlando, Florida had failed to materialize.

In September 2009, KBR announced that it had been awarded a license and services contract in China with Beijing Guoneng Yinghui Clean Energy Engineering Co., Ltd that is expected to result in the first commercial scale installation of the TRIG system.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

DOE/NETL Defines
Technology Pathways

to Lower IGCC Costs

Final report on benefits of advanced IGCC technologies now available

Back in early October this site reported on a study by the DOE/NETL Office of Analysis and Planning of the potential of advanced technologies currently under development to lower the cost of coal-based IGCC power plants with high levels of carbon capture.

Study results, presented at the 2009 Gasification Technologies Council (GTC) conference held Oct. 4-7 in Colorado Springs
, predict that significant improvements are indeed possible. Now the final study report dated, November 2009, is available for downloading at the DOE/NETL website.

Severe economic impact of CCS
A number of studies supported by EPRI and the DOE/NETL (see Jan-Feb 2009 Gas Turbine World), have focused on the severity of the economic impacts of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for all forms of coal-based power generation.

For example, the impact of 90% CO2 capture on typical current-technology IGCC plants is to increase HHV heat rate by more than 16 percent (i.e. reducing plant efficiency from around 38% to below 32%).
And the additional parasitic plant loads associated with CO2 processing and compression reduce net plant output by more than15 percent.

The combined overall effect is to increase total plant capital cost ($ per net kW) by over 35 percent and add at least 35% to the 20-year levelized cost of electricity (COE).

R&D aims at recouping CCS losses
In a drive to recoup losses in IGCC plant efficiency, and mitigate increases in plant capital costs due to adding CCS, the DOE has several advanced technologies under development with a well defined technology pathway for both near term and longer term improvements.

The NETL report
"Current and Future Technologies for Gasification-Based Power Generation" (DOE/NETL- 2009/1384) provides estimates of the benefits of each element of DOE's broad portfolio of advanced power systems technology programs.

Presented roughly in order of expected commercial deployment, these programs are shown to significantly improve process efficiency, cut capital costs and substantially lower the COE for coal-based IGCC plants operating with 90% CCS.

Largest returns are expected of the following R&D efforts which are targeted at specific advances in design and performance:

  • Advanced hydrogen turbine. Increases in efficiency and power rating will lower emissions and reduce $/kW total plant cost.
  • Warm gas cleanup. Eliminates thermal penalty of conventional cold cleanup and reduces capital cost. Included is application of high temperature hydrogen transport membranes for CO2 separation.
  • Ion transport membrane oxygen. "ITM" oxygen production greatly reduces power penalty and cost of cryogenic air separation.
  • Gasifier technology. Improved gasifier materials, instrumentation and controls improves plant reliability and availability. Increasing plant time on-line goes directly toward lowering energy production cost per kWh.
Starting with a nominal 600 MW current-technology FA-Class IGCC plant with slurry-fed gasification, cold gas cleanup, and 90% CO2 capture and compression, progressive application of these advanced technologies is shown to more than restore plant efficiency to pre-CCS levels (to better than 40%), and to reduce capital cost ($/kW) and COE ($/MWh) by 32% or more.

The Nov-Dec issue of Gas Turbine World magazine features a summary abstract of the DOE/NETL study, highlighting the benefits of the various advanced programs being supported by the DOE.

Additional savings on horizon
Additional savings are on the horizon with progress being made in the development of other advanced IGCC technologies outside of the DOE R&D program.

One example is the revolutionary Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) compact gasification process, which involves the innovative application of rocket-based technology for the production of coal-derived syngas at high pressure and temperature.

Operating conditions result in improved process efficiency and greatly reduced pressure vessel volume (by 90%), leading to an estimated 50% reduction in gasification system cost. This would clearly have a major positive impact on IGCC economics.

In another presentation at the 2009 GTC conference, PWR reported on the status of their program, including their partnership with ExxonMobil and the Alberta Energy Research Institute. As scheduled, the 18 tpd compact gasification pilot test unit started operations at the Gas Technology Institute research facility near Chicago on November 5. Hot-gas testing is now underway, and initial results have reportedly been very satisfactory.

With their process pilot plan now in operation, PWR is said to be close to announcing plans for a commercial-scale demonstration project.

Gas Turbine World is looking forward to presenting an update of the progress of this very promising advanced gasification technology program, including initial test results and design performance data, in our upcoming 2010 IGCC Reference Guide.