Integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants power many communities throughout the country. This clean coal technology converts coal to a synthetic gas that is then combusted in a combined-cycle system, one of the most efficient in commercial use today, meaning more energy and less emissions from coal-fueled power plants.
IGCC can achieve thermal efficiencies that exceed 40 percent, thus emitting as much as 30 percent less carbon dioxide. IGCC plants also have very low SO2, NOX, particulate matter, and mercury emissions – making them some of the cleanest plants in the United States – using our nation’s most affordable and abundant domestic fuel resource – coal.
Among the plants that will be using IGCC technology is the Edwardsport Station in Indiana, which is expected to begin commercial operation by the middle of this year. “The 618-megawatt IGCC facility will be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world.”
In North Dakota, Basin Electric Power Cooperative owns and operates a plant employing gasification technology. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant – the cleanest energy plant operating in the state – is “a model of how coal can be used to produce energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.”
In Kemper County, Mississippi, Southern Company is building a 582-megawatt transport integrated gasification (TRIG) plant that will deploy technology to capture 65 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant, using the state’s four billion ton reserve of lignite coal.
Just another way clean coal technologies are powering our energy future.
Coal Gasification is the process of converting coal into synthetic “natural” gas by a process using incomplete combustion to create carbon monoxide (CO). The CO is transformed into a substitute natural gas through chemical interaction with a catalyst for use as a fuel or further processing and concentration into an industrial feed stock or liquid fuel.
The Department of Energy states that coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen, and other valuable energy products. Gasification, in fact, may be one of the most flexible technologies to produce clean-burning hydrogen for tomorrow’s automobiles and power-generating fuel cells. Hydrogen and other coal gases can also be used to fuel power-generating turbines, or as the chemical “building blocks” for a wide range of commercial products.
The capability to produce electricity, hydrogen, chemicals, or various combinations while eliminating nearly all air pollutants and potentially greenhouse gas emissions makes coal gasification one of the most promising technologies for energy plants of the future.
A recent story from Power Engineering International says that GE Power & Water developed a new innovation aimed at assisting coal-fueled power plants in further reducing their emissions.
The article states, “The air-filtration media technology involves bi-component felt media for construction of fabric filters used in coal-fired boiler baghouses. There continues to be a pressing demand for further innovations in clean coal technology, as the fossil fuel continues to show resilience as an energy source, despite the continuing progress towards renewable energy.”
Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry has invested billions to clean the air, and the results are that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated.
Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry has invested billions to clean the air. The result is that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 88 percent per unit of electricity generated. And not only that, the coal-based electricity industry has invested $110 billion through the end of 2012 to achieve these emission reductions.
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Dry Sorbent Injection (DRI) achieves between 40 to 75% removal of Sulfur Dioxide and acid gases and is one of the numerous clean coal technologies that impact our daily lives. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, DSI systems remove hydrogen chloride (HCl) and other acid gases through two basic steps:
Step one. A powdered sorbent is injected into the flue gas—combustion exhaust gas exiting a power plant—where it reacts with the HCl. The sorbents most commonly associated with DSI are trona (sodium sesquicarbonate, a naturally occurring mineral mined in Wyoming), sodium bicarbonate, and hydrated lime.
Step two. The compound is removed by a downstream particulate matter control device such as an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) or a fabric filter (FF), also referred to as a baghouse. Fabric filters are generally more effective (when combined with DSI) than ESPs, with respect to overall HCl reduction. For modeling purposes, EPA estimate a DSI system with a fabric filter is expected to achieve 90% removal of HCl, while an ESP only achieves 60% removal, although actual performance will vary by individual plant.
This month’s progress report from the Kemper County energy facility says that the facility has reached peak construction and remains on schedule to open in May 2014. The plant’s positive economic impact continues to be felt across the region.
The progress report goes on to say:
“The project is creating jobs: 12,000 direct and indirect during construction and more than 1,000 direct and indirect permanent positions once operational. Nearly 300 Mississippi companies are participating in the project and receiving more than $650 million for the services they are supplying.
The ﬁnal lift of the facility’s 550-ton gasiﬁer was completed earlier this month. This milestone marks the ﬁnal work for the site’s massive 600-foot crane, which will be dismantled over the coming weeks.
The gasiﬁer, which is the heart of the plant, will be used to convert the plant’s affordable fuel source, lignite, into a synthesis gas to generate electricity. The first lignite-to synthetic gas conversion is slated for early 2014.”
The Kemper County energy facility is an electric power plant using an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) design called Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) technology.TRIG™ is a superior coal-gasification method with low impacts to our environment.
The TRIG™ technology was developed by the Department of Energy, Southern Company and KBR at the Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Alabama.TRIG™ technology can utilize lignite, which accounts for more than half of the world’s vast coal reserves. It offers a simpler and more robust method than most existing coal-gasification technologies.
TRIG™ technology, which will be used at the Kemper facility, also produces more power and offers lower capital cost as well as lower operation and maintenance cost than what is possible with other available gasification technologies.
With TRIG™ technology, the Kemper facility will turn Mississippi lignite into a clean gas while reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury.
The TRIG™ technology will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent – making CO2 emissions equivalent to a similarly sized natural gas combined cycle power plant.
A recent story from E&E reported on the progress of Canadian utility SaskPower’s 43-year-old coal plant at its Boundary Dam Power Station. The facility is being retrofitted to capture roughly 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions and store the gas deep underground.
The Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project will see Unit #3 at a coal-fired power plant located at Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, rebuilt with a fully-integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) system. It will be the first commercial-scale power plant equipped with a fully integrated CCS system. Operations are expected to begin in 2014.
According to the story, “The 110-megawatt project may be a game changer in two ways — it could become the world’s first commercial demonstration of carbon capture technology on a power plant at large scale. And it differs from other proposals in that it is a retrofit of an older coal plant and the retrofit might later be applied to similar plants.”
The Boundary Dam project will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately one million tons a year — the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off Saskatchewan roads annually. The CO2 will be sold to resource companies to be used in enhanced oil recovery operations. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) will also be captured and sold.
“Boundary Dam will make the first benchmark. It will define the costs, which is so important,” Mike Monea, SaskPower president of carbon capture and storage initiatives, said at a briefing in Washington, D.C., last week. “Whoever builds the next one won’t have to spend as much money as us.”
Globally, more coal is expected to be used to produce electricity in 2017 than now, despite changing dynamics in the United States, according to the International Energy Agency.
Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry invested billions to clean the air. The result is that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated.
And not only that, the coal-based electricity industry is investing $125 billion more through 2015 to reduce them even further.
To read more quick facts about coal-based electricity, make sure to “Like” America’s Power on Facebook and learn more about the role clean coal plays in our everyday lives. Don’t forget to take a stand for coal by joining here.
Mike Duncan is the president and CEO for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the use of coal...
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Laura Sheehan Senior Vice President
Laura Sheehan is a seasoned public affairs expert with more than a 20-year track record in policy communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, community and...
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Bianca Prade Vice President
Bianca Prade is ACCCE's vice president of digital strategy, and leads new and traditional media strategies to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of coal-based electricity...
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Darian Ghorbi Director
Darian Ghorbi is the Director of Policy Analysis at ACCCE. Prior to joining ACCCE, Darian spent five years working for the U.S. Department of Energy.
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Elizabeth Jennings Communications Specialist
Elizabeth Jennings is ACCCE’s Communications Specialist acting as an integral part of our communications team. She works to expand the reach of our message through traditional and new media platforms....
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