The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle concept is an emerging technology that enables an efficient and clean use of coal as well as residuals in power generation. After several years of development and demonstration operation, now the technology has reached the status for commercial operation. SIEMENS is engaged in 3 IGCC plants in Europe which are currently in operation. Each of these plants has specific characteristics leading to a wide range of experiences in development and operation of IGCC gas turbines fired with low to medium LHV syngases.

The worlds first IGCC plant of commercial size at Buggenum/Netherlands (Demkolec) has already demonstrated that IGCC is a very efficient power generation technology for a great variety of coals and with a great potential for future commercial market penetration. The end of the demonstration period of the Buggenum IGCC plant and the start of its commercial operation has been dated on January 1, 1998. After optimisations during the demonstration period the gas turbine is running with good performance and high availability and has exceeded 18000 hours of operation on coal gas.

The air-side fully integrated Buggenum plant, equipped with a Siemens V94.2 gas turbine, has been the first field test for the Siemens syngas combustion concept, which enables operation with very low NOx emission levels between 120–600 g/MWh NOx corresponding to 6–30 ppm(v) (15%O2) and less than 5 ppm(v) CO at baseload. During early commissioning the syngas nozzle has been recognised as the most important part with strong impact on combustion behaviour. Consequently the burner design has been adjusted to enable quick and easy changes of the important syngas nozzle. This design feature enables fast and efficient optimisations of the combustion performance and the possibility for easy adjustments to different syngases with a large variation in composition and LHV. During several test runs the gas turbine proved the required degree of flexibility and the capability to handle transient operation conditions during emergency cases.

The fully air-side integrated IGCC plant at Puertollano/Spain (Elcogas), using the advanced Siemens V94.3 gas turbine (enhanced efficiency), is now running successfully on coal gas. The coal gas composition at this plant is similar to the Buggenum example. The emission performance is comparable to Buggenum with its very low emission levels. Currently the gas turbine is running for the requirements of final optimization runs of the gasifier unit.

The third IGCC plant (ISAB) equipped with Siemens gas turbine technology is located at Priolo near Siracusa at Sicilly/Italy. Two Siemens V94.2K (modified compressor) gas turbines are part of this “air side non-integrated” IGCC plant. The feedstock of the gasification process is a refinery residue (asphalt). The LHV is almost twice compared to the Buggenum or Puertollano case. For operation with this gas, the coal gas burner design was adjusted and extensively tested. IGCC operation without air extraction has been made possible by modifying the compressor, giving enhanced surge margins. Commissioning on syngas for the first of the two gas turbines started in mid of August 1999 and was almost finished at the end of August 1999. The second machine followed at the end of October 1999. Since this both machines are released for operation on syngas up to baseload.

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