Friday, December 21, 2012

Gasification & IGCC News

Greengen - China's First IGCC 
Demo Project 'Inaugurated'
(Adapted from report released by Industrial Info Resources, China, Dec. 21, 2012)

The inauguration of the "Greengen" IGCC Demonstration Project, the first IGCC project in China, as well as the unveiling of the associated national Greengen R&D center, was held in Tianjin on December 12, 2012, according to an announcement from China Huaneng Group.

Greengen Corporation Limited, a joint venture of China Huaneng Group (Beijing) (51%), and seven other leading energy players in China each with 7% of equity in the company, are responsible for the development of the project. 

The other seven include China Datang Corporation, China Huadian Corporation, China Guodian Corporation, China Power Investment Corporation, China Shenhua Group, China National Coal Group Corporation and the State Development and Investment Corporation.

Northwest Electric Power Design Institute (Xi'an, Shaanxi), a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China (PCCC), is responsible for the design and engineering of the project. Tinjian Electric Power Construction Company (Tianjin), another subsidiary of PCCC, is responsible for the construction of the project.

Greengen Corporation was established in 2005, with the objective to develop a close-to-zero-emission coal-fired power generation technology within 10 years. The project received final approval from the National Development and Reform Commission, the top planner of China, in June 2009.

Construction of the Phase I project kicked off on July 6, 2009. On October 2, 2011, the gas turbine in the project's power island ( a Siemens nominal 180MW SGT5-2000E(LC) aka V94.2K) was started under oil-fired operating conditions. 

On December 7, 2012, the Phase I project was handed over for commercial operation in full IGCC mode using a proprietary coal gasification process developed by Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute "HCERI" formerly Thermal Power Research Institute "TPRI" .

According to plans, China Huaneng will continue its R&D in Greengen and will complete a 400MW IGCC demonstration project in 2015.

Monday, August 13, 2012





"Circumstances have changed"


Falling victim to low gas prices and politics

Clean Chicago Energy handed serious setback 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Leucadia National's Chicago Clean Energy coal gasification project has suffered the same fate as a long list of once promising coal-to-gas projects in the US.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has vetoed the bill that would have saved the project by equiring two utility companies to buy SNG from the $3 billion plant proposed for South Chicago. 

"That is not a fair deal for ratepayers," said Governor Quinn, reflecting the opinion of other government leaders in the US who have pulled the plug on similar projects.

"This leaves the controversial project mired in uncertainty," reported an industry news service.

While the governor said he did not oppose the concept of the plant, he commented that "circumstances have changed" since he signed another bill last year that supported a coal gasification plant in the city.

The vetoed bill would have required power company Ameren Illinois and Nicor Gas to pay for 95% of the costs of the plant while receiving only 84% of its output.  Both companies lobbied hard against the plan.

In the meantime, US natural gas prices are at lowest levels seen in many years, and are expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future.  This has thrown most of the proposed US coal-to-gas and IGCC projects in the US onto the back burner.

"The fact of the matter is natural gas prices are low and demand is flat or declining," said Howard Lerner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center.  "The market (for costly SNG) is very tight for anybody proposing to build a new plant."

New York-based Leucadia National, parent company of Chicago Clean Energy, said that the governor's decision was "unfortunate".

"We know that this $3 billion investment in Illinois was good for the state's economy, its environment, its workers and its consumers," the company said. "While we find the governor's decision unfortunate, we look forward to continuing our work at our other facilities throughout the country." 

Leucadia, with considerable support of the US Dept. of Energy,  currently continues development of  similar projects in Indiana, Louisiana and Mississippi.  However, we see the future of these projects as shaky, at best.

Construction of the South Chicago plant was to have started in September 2014 and ready by March 2018.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Gasification & News

Lights still on at Kemper 
IGCC construction site 

Recent news seemed to foretell of 'lights-out' for Southern Company clean-coal project, but latest news 
is that the PSC has given its blessing 
to 'truck on'.


GULFPORT, Miss. - On March 30, 2012 it was reported that Southern Company's smallest operating utility, Mississippi Power,  received authorization to temporarily continue construction of the Kemper County IGCC Project from the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

Recently, (see earlier posting of Gasification & IGCC News) the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Commission must address the issue of insufficient supporting evidence in its granting of an authorization to proceed with construction.   Although it put the project's future in doubt, the Court's ruling apparently did not directly order shut down of the project.

"This action allows us to continue construction of the Kemper Project," said Jeff Shepard, company spokesman, Mississippi Power. "Any delays to this project would mean significant costs to our customers. Today's ruling means we can continue building a sound energy future for our customers."

Mississippi Power continues to provide the Public Service Commission with information as needed as they address the Supreme Court ruling. 

 In 2010 the PSC had originally ruled against the project, saying that the company failed to prove that it would be beneficial to its customers.  However, later that year it reversed its position (in a 2-1 vote) based on a Mississippi Power proposal of a cost cap of almost $2.9 billion for the 582MW (net) plant.  

The plant is designed to use a gasification technology developed by Southern Co and KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) to burn Mississippi lignite. The so-called TRIG (Transport Integrated Gasification) design is based on long-proven processing technology used in refineries, but has, to date, operated as a coal gasifier only at small scale at the DOE advanced systems test facility in Wilsonville, Alabama. 

However, according to a September, 2009 release,  and subsequent updates, it was expected that the first commercial-scale TRIG gasifier would be operating in Guandong Province, China before the end of 2011.

Current information on the actual status of the Guandong project is still being researched.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gasification & IGCC News:

Harsh Reality in Mississippi
Setback for Clean Coal and
IGCC Power Generation

Mississippi Supreme Court 
reverses PSC approval of 
Kemper County IGCC plant

The writing was on the wall
Even with the plant already under construction, issues regarding the cost and need for the plant persisted.   On March 16 the harsh reality came home to roost.  The high cost of a coal-based Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant, especially in the face of cheap natural gas and low demand, has abruptly caused a major setback for the Kemper County IGCC project in Mississippi.

In a 9-0 vote the state supreme court  reversed an approval by the Public Service Commission for the $2.8 billion 582MW power generation project.

In its decision, the court said that the May 2010 approval failed to demonstrate that the plant would benefit the utility's customers, as required by law, and sent the case back to the PSC.

Plant already under construction
Mississippi Power is already building the 582-megawatt the plant, which had been awarded more than $680 million in federal grants and tax incentives, including $270 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's clean coal power initiative.

The status of these federal funds are unknown, and the DOE is yet to issue a statement.

Mississippi Power officials said that they were reviewing the court ruling but declined further comment, according to wire services.

Sierra Club Behind Challenge
The Sierra Club, which challenged the PSC approval to build the plant commented that ruling "has dealt a severe blow to the project in the sense that they (Mississippi Power) are back to square one."

"It's going to be very difficult for an unbiased observer to say that this plant is a good idea given the current state of the energy market, the natural gas market and the economy," said a Sierra Club lawyer.

A distinct possibility exists that the plant will ultimately go forward as a natural-gas fired combined cycle, using the Siemens gas turbines already purchased. There could be plans designed into the plant for future conversion to IGCC using Mississippi lignite feedstock when economic conditions can justify it.    It is noted that this is only speculation, and that neither the PSC nor Southern Company has as yet made any statement in this regard.

PSC does 'flip-flop'
Mississippi Power is the smallest utility in the Southern Company system, and has a customer base of less than 200,000.    In 2010, the three-member PSC initially ruled that the company failed to prove that the costly plant would benefit its customers.

About a month later, however, the commission voted 2-1 to allow the plant to be built under revised conditions, including raising the cost cap by nearly $500 million to $2.88 billion (almost $5000 per net kW).

The lone Mississippi PSC commissioner who voted against the project both times, called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling "a major victory" for Mississippi Power customers.

"Untried technology"?
The dissenting commissioner, Brandon Presley, claimed that the plant is based on using "untried technology," and that "the customers (of Mississippi Power) have all the risks along with a 45 percent rate hike to boot."

The plant is designed to use a gasification technology developed by Southern Co and KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) to burn Mississippi lignite. The so-called TRIG (Transport Integrated Gasification) design is based on long-proven catalytic cracking tower design used in refineries, but has, to date, operated as a coal gasifier only at small scale at the DOE advanced systems test facility in Wilsonville, Alabama.

However, according to a September, 2009 release,  and subsequent updates, it was expected that the first commercial-scale TRIG gasifier would be operating in Guandong Province, China before the end of 2011.

Current information on the actual status of the Guandong project is still being researched.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


China to build compact
coal gasification demo
unit for P&W Rocketdyne

After decades of US development 
Chinese agree to take on commercial 
demonstration of rocket-based coal
gasification technology.

From Pratt&Whitney Rocketdyne Press Release

CANOGA PARK, Calif., Feb. 2, 2012 – Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) has signed a negotiation framework agreement with two Chinese energy industry companies to design, construct and operate a commercial-scale advanced gasification demonstration plant in China’s central eastern Henan Province. 

PWR, developer of the so-called "advanced compact gasification technology", says that the agreement is a "key step toward commercializing technology designed to lower the cost of coal gasification and provide an alternative fuel source that reduces water use and carbon dioxide emissions."

Under the framework agreement, Zhongyuan Da Hua Group Company Ltd. and East China Engineering Science & Technology Company will share development costs for construction and operation of a demonstration plant with PWR.

Zhongyuan Da Hua Group Company Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henan Coal Chemical Industry Group Co. Ltd., a state-owned enterprise in China Henan Province. Henan Coal, the 2nd largest coal company in China specializes in coal-to-gas projects. 

East China Engineering Science & Technology Company, has more than 40 years of experience in coal/chemical production facility engineering, procurement and construction, and has completed more than 2,000 projects throughout China and 10 other countries.
According to PWR, its advanced rocket-based gasification technology provides a higher-efficiency and lower-cost alternative to current gasification systems.  Estimates are that the capital cost using PWR technology would be 10 to 20 percent less than conventional gasification plants .  In addition, it is expected that carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by up to 10 percent and water usage by up to 30 percent. 

The PWR technology has been under development for decades.  Early phases of R&D enjoyed the support of the US government.  More recently, PWA  has collaborated with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, with Canada’s Alberta Innovates – Energy & Environmental Solutions (EES) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities (DCEO).   PWR has also granted a worldwide license to Zero Emission Energy Plants, Inc. (ZEEP) to use the technology in the development of commercial facilities.

PWR, a part of Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. company and
a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.

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