In recent years, a great deal of attention has been focused on new Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants, but the term has been used interchangeably (and incorrectly) to describe both simple gasification and the Clean coal gasification for chemical and fuel production, as well as the actual integration of gasification and combined cycle power generation into a single plant. Let’s start at the beginning with some clarifications.
* Gasification – This is not combustion. Gasification is the thermal conversion (at 1,400-2,800 degrees F) of carbon-based materials (coal, petroleum products,biomass) to a synthetic gas (or syngas). Syngas can be used as a feedstock to make chemicals and fuels, or as a fuel to generate power. Gasification uses only a fraction of the oxygen that would be needed to burn (combust) coal and is not a new process.
* Clean Coal Gasification – By itself, clean coal gasification is not a power production technology, but essentially a chemical production process. Coal can be gasified and turned into liquid fuels, fertilizers, and chemicals. This is also not a new process.
* Combined Cycle Power Production – This combines use of a simple cycle combustion turbine (CT) generator with the use of waste heat to power a steam turbine generator; electric generation is the output. This also is not a new process.
* Integrated Gasification– Combined Cycle (IGCC) – For the purposes of this discussion, AMP-Ohio uses the term IGCC to refer to the integration of non-coal gasification (use of petcoke, petroleum products, biomass, etc. as feedstocks) with combined cycle power generation technology.
* Coal Gasification – Combined Cycle (CGCC) – For the purposes of clarification, AMP-Ohio uses the term CGCC to refer to the use of clean coal gasification as a feedstock with the ultimate purpose of electric power production.
It is important to note that not all IGCC plants that have been reported (either operational, in construction or planned) use coal as a feedstock, and those that do generally rely on another fuel (usually petcoke, or other petroleum byproduct) to supplement coal availability.