Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Smart Energy: Clean Efficient Use of Cheap, Dirty Coal

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power production is a highly clean and efficient way to utilise relatively cheap and dirty coal, while removing the pollution. GE technology has been selected by Korea Western Power Co. for a integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant to be built in South Korea and one of the first in Asia.

The coal is gasified to syngas, which is used to power a gas turbine to generate electrical power. Heat is recovered from the gas turbine exhaust and used to create steam, which is then used to drive a steam turbine. By using both a gas turbine cycle and a steam turbine cycle, an IGCC power plant converts more of the energy from the coal into electrical power.
Specifically designed for IGCC applications, GE's 7F Syngas Turbine operates on cleaner burning syngas fuel produced from coal. For the Taean plant, the turbine will operate on syngas produced from the gasification of low BTU coal. Key equipment for the project will be shipped during the first half of 2014, with the plant's commercial operation to start in late 2015.

GE is a pioneer in the development of syngas turbine technology and has provided syngas-capable gas turbines for several milestone IGCC projects, including the pilot Coolwater IGCC plant in Barstow, Calif., and Tampa Electric's 250-MW Polk Power Station in Florida.

Turbines for the South Korea plant use the same technology as the turbines to be used in one of the largest IGCC plants in the world, which is slated to be commissioned in 2012.

To date, GE's Heavy Duty Gas Turbines have accumulated more than 1.3 million operating hours on syngas, including 400,000 operating hours on F-class gas turbines. GE's syngas turbines are an enabling technology for IGCC, which allows for the efficient production of electricity via the conversion of coal to gas, in a process that removes pollutants from the gas. _Powergrid
Additional heat retrieval can be utilised in an IGCC plant, to provide hot water for space heating and industrial use, if that feature is desired and designed into the plant.

Coal gasification is a cleaner way of using coal -- even cheap and dirty coal. IGCC plants can also utilise a mixture of coal and torrefied biomass -- also known as "green coal."

Coal is a particularly abundant resource globally, and should be utilised wherever it is possible to do so cleanly and efficiently, to assist in the transition from a hydrocarbon economy to a post-combustion economy which relies largely on electricity from nuclear power -- which is likely to take a number of decades to achieve.

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