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Texas utility signs first US Power Purchase Agreement for low-emissions electricity from commercial-scale coal-fired power plant with carbon capture

CPS Energy of San Antonio has signed a Power Purchase Agreement for approximately 200 MW of power from the Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP), located just west of Midland-Odessa. The agreement marks the first US purchase by a utility of low-carbon power from a commercial-scale, coal-based power plant utilizing carbon capture.

The 400-MW TCEP plant is an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) poly-generation facility capable of capturing 90% of the carbon dioxide it produces, as well as 99% of sulfur dioxide, 90% of nitrogen oxide, and 99% of mercury.

TCEP was a third-round selection under DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, a cost-shared collaboration between the Federal government and private industry aimed at stimulating investment in low-emission coal-based power generation technologies through successful commercial demonstrations. The $2.4 billion plant will receive $450 million in funding from the Clean Coal Power Initiative; of this, $211 million comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2015.

DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy has been instrumental in the research, development, and deployment of IGCC. Gasification uses oxygen and steam at high pressures to convert coal into syngas, which is mainly a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. In a non-carbon-capture plant, the syngas is cleaned to remove impurities and sent to a gas turbine where it undergoes combustion to produce electricity. The hot flue gas from the gas turbine, containing CO2, is used to generate steam, which is fed to a steam turbine to produce additional electricity and then vented to the atmosphere. This process is known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) because coal-fired gasification is integrated into a combined-cycle system that produces electricity from both the gas turbine and the steam turbine.

In the TCEP carbon capture plant, the carbon monoxide in the syngas will first be “shifted” to produce additional hydrogen and CO2, cleaned of impurities, and then separated into pure streams of hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen will be combusted in an advanced combustion turbine, producing a carbon-free flue gas.

Of the nearly 2.9 million metric tons of CO2 that will be captured annually at the TCEP plant, approximately 83% will be used for enhanced oil recovery in the West Texas Permian Basin; the remainder will be to produce urea, a high-value product. The production of a co-product in addition to electricity significantly improves the overall economics of the process.

Compared to traditional power plants, IGCC offers many advantages, including increased power plant efficiency and resulting lower-cost electricity. Unlike conventional power plants that remove environmental contaminants from the large-volume nitrogen-containing flue gas after combustion, IGCC power plants remove contaminants before combustion. Because gasification plants operate at high pressure with oxygen instead of air, the volume of gas that has to be treated is nearly two orders of magnitude lower, making the removal of environmental contaminants much easier. In addition, CO2 is much easier to capture and is produced at higher pressures than that from conventional power plants.

Today, approximately 80% of the energy consumed in the United States comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas, with coal-fired power plants accounting for approximately half of the electricity generated.

Comments

Reel$$

Oil and coal working together. Good luck fellas.

SJC

200 MW of power... considering Governor Perry wants to fast track 12 large conventional coal plants in Texas, this is a small project. Many urged the governor to consider more advanced designs, but in the macho Texas style he refused to be swayed by reason.

HarveyD

This demonstrates that it can be done. The higher efficiency and other positive secondary benefits could make it competitive with older technology dirty coal fired power plants.

Why not regulate the maximum acceptable pollution per Kwh from all future power plants?

HarveyD

Here are the latest (2010) USA Stats on pollution from stationary sources:

1. From power plants = 2324 million tons or 74.5% of total.
2. From ALL other sources = 794 million tons or 25.5% of total.

Pollution reduction efforts should start with the major culprits, i.e. power plants.

SJC

Not only are IGCC more efficient and less polluting, but they can be energy plants making fuels as well. Once you gasify the coal you can make methane, methanol, DME or gasoline at the same time at night off prime time. Using the same coal to produce the same power but now you produce fuels as well because the IGCC is more efficient.

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