A consortium led by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has received an order from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for design work for a large-scale integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) system to be adopted for a project to create the world's most advanced coal-fired thermal power plants. The project plans call for the construction of two 500-megawatt (MW) class IGCC plants in Fukushima Prefecture to help promote local industrial recovery. Following receipt of the order, the consortium, which also includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Mechatronics Systems (MHI-MS), has already begun the newly contracted design work.
TEPCO's coal-fired thermal power plant project targets the construction of two IGCC plants: one at the power provider's own Hirono Power Station (Futaba-gun), and one at the Nakoso Power Plant (Iwaki City) operated by Joban Joint Power Co., Ltd., a company partially owned by TEPCO. The project is aimed at creating the industrial base and employment opportunities to promote the economic revitalization of Fukushima Prefecture, and it is being carried out with the added aspiration of spurring the adoption of Japan's most advanced clean coal technologies worldwide in order to resolve energy and environmental issues of global scale.
MHPS's IGCC systems are highly efficient coal-fired power generation plants incorporating outstanding environmentally harmonic technologies developed exclusively in Japan. Following receipt of the order for design work from TEPCO, the MHPS-led consortium has already commenced work on preparing the equipment specifications, layout design, major system diagrams, etc. MHPS is responsible primarily for designing the gasification and combined-cycle power generation equipment; MHI is in charge of gas refining equipment; Mitsubishi Electric will handle power generation and electrical equipment; and MHI-MS will design the wastewater treatment facilities.
An IGCC system generates power using a combined-cycle format incorporating coal gasification and both gas and steam turbines. Compared to conventional coal-fired power generation systems, the IGCC configuration not only delivers spectacularly enhanced generation efficiency but also significantly cuts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, resulting in a thermal power generation system of the next generation.
Among the various fossil fuels available, coal offers outstanding economy and supply stability, in light of which it is widely adopted as a key energy resource. The introduction of IGCC technology has now enabled reductions in emissions not only of CO2 but also of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). In addition, because a high-temperature, high-pressure gasification furnace is used, low-grade coal - which has presented a number of disadvantages when employed in conventional thermal power plants - can now be readily used. In these respects, demand for IGCC systems is expected to grow in many countries like Japan that have scarce energy resources, in view of their advantages in the dual terms of effective utilization of resources and environmental protection.
MHPS's track record in IGCC systems includes the design and construction of Joban Joint Power Company's Nakaso Power Plant Unit 10 (the former Clean Coal Power R&D Company's demonstration plant), which set a world record for continuous operation of an IGCC system. MHPS refers to this system as "PHOENIX IGCC."