GE Energy and Bechtel Power recently signed their second agreement with American Electric Power (AEP) to move forward with plans for an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC), or cleaner coal, power plant.
Under the agreement, GE and Bechtel will proceed with the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase for a proposed, 630-megawatt IGCC plant in Mason County, West Virginia. Appalachian Power, an AEP subsidiary, would operate the plant, which would be located next to Appalachian’s Mountaineer power plant.
In September 2005, GE and Bechtel signed a FEED agreement with AEP, one of the USA’s largest electricity generators, for a proposed IGCC project in Meigs County, Ohio. If the two projects receive all of the necessary regulatory approvals, they would be among the first IGCC plants to be built in the US in the past 10 years and the first of this scale.
The FEED process for the West Virginia project is expected to conclude in mid-December 2006. Procurement and construction could start after certain regulatory milestones are achieved.
If awarded the contract for the next phase of the West Virginia project, GE would supply the IGCC technology for the new plant while Bechtel would handle engineering, procurement and construction. GE and Bechtel offer an IGCC Reference Plant–a standard commercial offering for IGCC projects in the United States, via a single point of contact for project developers.
GE’s IGCC technology converts coal into a cleaner burning fuel, which is used in a gas turbine combined-cycle system (featuring GE’s Frame 7FB gas turbine technology) to generate electricity.
GE’s IGCC technology is said to generate lower sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and particulate matter emissions than a traditional pulverised coal plant, making the use of coal for power significantly cleaner. The process also uses less water than a traditional plant and can be more economically retrofitted for carbon capture, further strengthening its environmental benefits.