IGCC power plant
IGCC means integrated gasification combined cycle.
This process uses coal or natural gas as primary energy and converts it into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen is burned in a gas turbine to produce mechanical power. The exhaust gas of the turbine is used to produce steam which drives a steam turbine. This combined cycle using a gas turbine and a steam turbine allows high conversion efficiencies of about 50--60 per cent.
The separation of the carbon dioxide produced during the gasification stage is much easier compared to remove carbon dioxide form the exhaust gas of a conventional coal fired power plant: exhaust gas contains around 80 percent nitrogen and only about 15 percent CO2 which has to be extracted using special procedures.
A further advantage is the fact that a power plant can easily operated by two or more fuels using mostly the same equipment. Just the conversion process from the primary fuel to the hydrogen rich synthesis gas is differnent for coal or gas. Depending of the availablity of fuels coal or gas can be used to operate the same power plant at high efficiencies.