Korea Western Power Co. (KOWEPO) said that its integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) in Taean succeeded in producing synthesis gas from coal for the first time on June 9 and reported the commencement of its power generation business on July 12 after the completion of gas turbine examination.
The company began the second stage of IGCC technology development on February 2011 and broke ground on the IGCC plant in Taean in November of the same year. Since then, it has put 49,000 units of construction equipment and 610,000 construction workers a year for 55 months, achieving 99.2 percent of the completion rate up to date. KOWEPO is working on test operation in order to complete the technology development by the end of November this year. The total construction cost of the 380 MW plant reaches 1.3 trillion won (US$1.14 billion).
In short, an IGCC is a technology that uses a high pressure gasifier to turn coal into a synthesis gas. It is superior in generating efficiency and environmental pollutant substance removal efficiency, including sulfur and nitrogen oxides and dust, to pulverized coal firing power systems. Its lowers the emission of sulfur oxides and dust to less than 1 percent and nitrogen oxide to 30 percent. Since an IGCC also has higher generating efficiency than existing coal firing power systems, it has an equivalent effect of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tons a year.
Moreover, it can produce liquid fuel, alternative natural gas and hydrogen using synthesis gas, and can use various fuel including low-grade coal.
According to KOWEPO, coal gasification technology being applied in an IGCC can be also used in producing various chemical materials, such as alternative natural gas, coal liquefaction and hydrogen, using synthesis gas as well as generating system. In addition, it can slash costs and improve energy conversion efficiency when constructing the system to coproduce various fuel and materials at the same time in a gasification plant. It can be also integrated with various technologies, including the development of iintegrated gasification fuel cell combined cycle combining synthesis gas and fuel cell and carbon dioxide capture and storage.