Domestic and Global Usage of Gasification Technology
Gasification Industry Survey
The fluctuating price of oil and natural gas has prompted interest in the gasification of coal and other opportunity fuels. The majority of gasification development is found in countries that have introduced competition into their electricity supply system. There are currently 117 gasification plants in operation around the world and about 35 additional facilities in various stages of development, design, and construction. Of those 117, about 36% generate fuels, 19% generate electricity, and 42% generate chemical feedstocks. The total installed global capacity amounts to 24,000 megawatts of electricity (MWe) with an annual growth rate of about ten percent.
Modern domestic gasification began in 1984. Since then, gasifiers of various sizes have been built for a wide range of purposes. According to a 2002 Senate briefing, there are 20 gasification plants in operation in the United States producing a variety of products including electricity. More than ten plants are currently being planned for construction. A history of energy-related gasification systems follows.
Great Plains Synthetic Fuels Plant - 1984
The massive Great Plains Coal Gasification Plant in Beulah, North Dakota, was built with federal government support. It uses coal gasification to create methane, the chief constituent of natural gas, which is fed into nearby commercial gas pipelines. This unit does not produce electricity.
Cool Water Plant - 1984
Southern California Edison's experimental Cool Water project near Barstow, California, established the early technical foundation for future integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants.
Wabash River - 1995
The Wabash River Coal Gasification Re-powering Project (PDF) [4 pp., 251 KB, About PDF] was the first full-size commercial gasification-combined cycle plant built in the United States. Located outside West Terre Haute, Indiana, the plant started full operations in November 1995. The plant can generate 292 MWe (262 megawatts of which are supplied to the electric grid), making it one of the world's largest single train gasification combined cycle plants operating commercially. The Wabash River facility is the result of a joint venture by Destec and PSI to repower a 1953 vintage steam generator at PSI's Wabash River Generating Station.
Tampa Polk Power Station - 1997
Tampa Electric Company's Polk Power Station near Lakeland, Florida, was built to demonstrate Clean Coal Technology. This electric utility application employs an entrained-flow, oxygen-blown gasifier with full heat recovery and conventional cold-gas cleanup to generate 250 MWe. The advanced gas turbine uses nitrogen injection for power augmentation and nitrogen oxide control.
Wabash River - 2003
FuelCell Energy, Inc., in Danbury, Connecticut, installed their two-megawatt fuel cell system at the Wabash River Energy, Ltd., coal gasification-combined cycle power plant. Developed under the Department of Energy's Fossil Energy Program, the molten carbonate fuel cell system demonstrates an advanced, highly efficient, pollution-free electricity production system. The project produces enough electricity to power about 2,000 homes.