IGCC is becoming the base load technology of choice, because
coal-fueled IGCC plants reduce emissions by 2/3 from the next cleanest
coal-fueled technology, supercritical pulverized coal (SCPC) plants, and they
generate energy at lower, more stable prices than plants that depend on an
increasingly expensive supply of natural gas.
IGCC plants are superior to others in almost every respect:
- The U.S. Department of Energy has deemed IGCC technology "crucial" both for
securing a domestic energy supply and for providing "enormous environmental
- Coal gasification can produce a wide variety of useful industrial byproducts,
including hydrogen for vehicles and fuel cells to support
a transition to a hydrogen economy, syngas that can be substituted for
natural gas in industrial processes, a pipeline-quality natural gas
substitute, and liquid transportation fuels.
- Greater reliance on domestic coal will decrease dependence on foreign sources of fuel.
- The supply of domestic coal is abundant.
Beyond the immediate environmental benefits of reducing emissions of criteria
pollutants and mercury, IGCC technology provides a pathway to cost-effective capture
of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas produced by all fossil
fuel-fired power plants.
The rate at which air pollutants are emitted from IGCC plants is 2/3
less than those of recently permitted SCPC plants
having the most modern environmental controls.
Pre-combustion cleaning processes used to remove air pollutants at IGCC plants
produce marketable by-products. Processes used by conventional coal-fired technologies
generally produce solid waste that requires landfilling.
Gasification is the cleanest method of converting coal into power, making it superior
to other coal technologies such as pulverized coal and fluidized bed boilers with regard
to both environmental performance and efficiency.
IGCC's ability to
efficiently remove air pollutants prior to the combustion process and its
capability to capture CO2 makes it flexible to adapt to ever-tightening
- The ongoing expense of retrofitting less flexible
conventional coal plants for ever-tightening environmental regulations
will make the life cycle cost of IGCC lower than the costs of a SCPC
- Decreasing natural gas supplies coupled with an increase in demand have driven
the price of natural gas sharply higher and created volatility in the gas market.
Supplies are not increasing but demand is, and experts agree this trend is likely
- Coal gasification is not a new technology. It has been in
industrial application in the petrochemical industry for many decades, and
has been reliably demonstrated by current and past IGCC facilities.
- IGCC technology is superior to SCPC plants because an IGCC plant can use a wide variety of
feedstocks—including high-sulfur coals and petcoke that cannot be used in SCPC plants under current emission limits.
- The superior efficiency of a combined cycle configuration allows an IGCC plant
to produce equal amounts of electricity while consuming less fuel.
The following links provide valuable information and resources that expand on
the benefits of IGCC technology.
Coal can do that?
Energy for the 21st Century
It's All In the Process
ConocoPhillips E-Gas technology
Gasification Technologies Council