The next generation of coal-fueled power plants must be efficient, clean, and cost-effective. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sponsors a program to develop an advanced, coal-based power system called HIPPS, or High Performance Power System, to meet these requirements. In the HIPPS cycle, air from a gas turbine compressor is indirectly heated in a coal-fueled furnace and then further heated directly with natural gas to power a gas turbine. Indirect heating of the gas turbine working fluid avoids the problems associated with expansion of a corrosive, coal-derived gas through a turbine. Steam is also generated to power a bottoming Rankine cycle.
This paper presents an analysis of the performance of HIPPS that is achievable using current technology and projects the level of performance as technology advances. The HIPPS cycle using current technology produces electricity from coal at a thermal efficiency that is more than 40 percent higher than that of today’s average coal-based power plants. The effect of advanced gas turbines, a novel gas turbine cycle, high performance steam cycles, and advanced coal-fueled furnace materials/designs is estimated with the use of computer-based engineering tools. Promising system configurations for future generations of HIPPS are identified with cycle efficiencies as high as 49.3 percent on a higher heating value basis.