IGCC plant for Florida gets green light

A US$235 MILLION grant will fund the development of one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the world in Orlando, Florida, using Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology.

Staff Reporter

The plant will be located at the Orlando Utilities Commission's Stanton Energy Center and will use installed advanced emission controls making it one of the cleanest, most energy-efficient coal power plants in the world. The total cost for the coal-based demonstration project is $557 million, of which the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will contribute $235 million as the federal cost share. The project is a team effort led by Southern Company.

The grant is part of president George W. Bush’s 2002 Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) to invest $2 billion over 10 years to advance technologies that can help meet growing demand for electricity while providing a secure and low-cost energy source and protecting the environment.

"This project is a prime example of our Administration’s desire to develop cutting-edge technologies to help meet our Nation’s future energy needs,” said secretary of energy Spencer Abraham.

“Advancing the technology for clean coal will go a long way toward giving us control of our energy future, and it will be an important part of safeguarding the environment for future generations. Clean energy technologies like those pioneered here mean jobs for this region, including high-tech, highly skilled jobs. Estimates suggest this project will account for more than 1,800 jobs which will help continue the expansion of Orlando’s economy.”

IGCC is a variation on a natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in which a coal-derived gas (produced by the coal gasifier) replaces the natural gas. Two power generators are used in combination to generate electricity in a very efficient manner. Advantages are the ability to use low cost coal and other solid fuels. IGCC is one of the more ‘sequestration ready’ of all the new technologies – i.e. CO2 removal is readily available.

Identifying technology advancements for gasification-based electricity production, advanced mercury control, and sequestration and sequestration-readiness were priorities in this round of funding.

The gas from the coal is first passed through a gas turbine to generate electricity; then the hot gas leaving the turbine is used to heat water to produce steam to power a steam turbine and generate electricity a second time. This increases the amount of electricity that can be generated from a ton of coal and does so in an environmentally sound manner.

“IGCC promises dramatically increased efficiency and reliability, improved environmental performance, reduced capital and operating costs, and flexibility to process both high- and low-rank coals,” the DOE said.