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

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