Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles (IGCCs) are energy systems mainly composed of a gasifier and a combined cycle power plant. Since the gasification process usually requires oxygen as the oxidant, the plant also has an Air Separation Unit (ASU). Moreover, a producer gas cleaner unit is always present between the gasifier and the gas turbine. Since these plants are based on gas-steam combined cycle power plants they suffer from a reduction in performance when ambient temperature increases.
In this paper, an innovative system for power augmentation in IGCC plants is presented. The system is based on gas turbine inlet air cooling by means of liquid nitrogen spray. In fact, nitrogen is a product of the ASU, but is not always exploited. In the proposed plant, the nitrogen is first chilled and liquefied and then it can be used for inlet air cooling or stored for a postponed use.
This system is not characterized by the limits of water evaporative cooling (where the lower temperature is limited by air saturation) and refrigeration cooling (where the effectiveness is limited by pressure drop in the heat exchanger).
A thermodynamic model of the system is built by using a commercial code for the simulation of energy conversion systems. A sensitivity analysis on the main parameters (e.g. ambient air temperature, inlet air temperature difference, etc.) is presented. Finally the model is used to study the capabilities of the system by imposing the real temperature profiles of different sites for a whole year.