The integration of gas turbines and combined cycle systems with advances in coal gasification and gas stream cleanup systems will result in economically viable IGCC systems. Optimization of IGCC systems for both emission levels and cost of electricity is critical to achieving this goal.
A technical issue is the ability to use a wide range of coal and petroleum-based fuel gases in conventional gas turbine combustor hardware. In order to characterize the acceptability of these syngases for gas turbines, combustion studies were conducted with simulated coal gases using full scale advanced gas turbine (7F) combustor components. It was found that NOx emissions could be correlated as a simple function of stoichiometric flame temperature for a wide range of heating values while CO emissions were shown to depend primarily on the H2 content of the fuel below heating values of 130 Btu/scf (5125 kJ/NM3) and for H2/CO ratios less than unity. The test program further demonstrated the capability of advanced can-annular combustion systems to burn fuels from air-blown gasifiers with fuel lower heating values as low as 90 Btu/scf (3548 kJ/NM3) at 2300 F (1260 C) firing temperature.
In support of ongoing economic studies, numerous IGCC system evaluations have been conducted incorporating a majority of the commercial or near commercial coal gasification systems coupled with “F” series gas turbine combined cycles. Both oxygen and air-blown configurations have been studied, in some cases with high and low temperature gas cleaning systems. It has been shown that system studies must start with the characteristics and limitations of the gas turbine if output and operating economics are to be optimized throughout the range of ambient operating temperature and load variation.