IGCC Technology and CCS Technology

April 2009

Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) is a gas-fired power generation technology that converts coal (or other feedstock) into gas and uses the gas, rather than the coal, for thermal combustion. The combined cycle feature captures the heat loss from the initial cycle (a gas turbine) and utilizes that heat in a second cycle (a steam turbine) to produce additional electricity.

While gasification technology has existed since the 1870s and was used extensively by Germany during World War II to create fuel, the integration of gasification equipment with a combined cycle power block for electricity production has been a recent evolution of the technology.

In post-war United States, coal conversion research largely focused on the creation of synthetic oils and fuel products. In the 1960s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated studies to test the applicability of coal as a gas turbine fuel. Coal was pulverized, mixed with various liquids, and the mixture was directly fired in the gas turbine combustor. These tests were generally unsuccessful; the results demonstrated that gas turbines cannot directly fire pulverized or slurried coal. In the 1970s, concerns about petroleum supply prompted the DOE to fund various studies to evaluate the feasibility of gasifying coal and employing the product syngas as a gas turbine fuel. Studies continue today.

In this report, ScottMadden gives an overview of existing and developing IGCC technologies, a description of the advantages and disadvantages and the costs, funding and investment issues, and provides a profile of some of the emerging issues and barriers to commercial development.

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