American Electric Power has signed an agreement with GE Energy and Bechtel Corporation to begin the front-end engineering design process for a commercial-scale, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) clean-coal plant in the 600- megawatt range. This will be the first such engineering and design agreement undertaken for an IGCC plant of this scale.
“At AEP, we’ve worked for more than a decade to help push clean-coal generation from theory to commercial viability and now to mainstream use. Our success with this project — ramping up the technology to build the first large-scale, baseload IGCC plant in the country — will help our industry continue to rely on our nation’s vast domestic coal reserves to generate much- needed, affordable electricity with less environmental impact,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
AEP announced in August, 2004, its intent to build approximately 1,200- megawatts of commercial-scale, baseload IGCC generation. The company’s AEP Ohio operating companies filed for cost recovery March 18, 2005, with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to build an IGCC plant in Meigs County, Ohio. AEP Ohio says it hopes to have a decision from the PUCO by the end of 2005.
AEP added that it is moving forward with the front-end engineering design process for the IGCC technology in order to remain on schedule to complete an IGCC plant in 2010. AEP intends to build at least another 600 megawatts of IGCC generation in its eastern operating area by 2013.
IGCC plants turn coal into a synthesis gas and eliminate most of the sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and other emissions before the gas is used to fuel a combustion turbine generator. The hot exhaust gases are then used to heat steam to drive a steam turbine generator. The technology uses less water and has lower emissions than a conventional coal-fired plant with currently required emission control equipment. Additionally, IGCC design allows for potential capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) at a lower cost than conventional coal-fired plants.