CCT and the FE coal R&D programs. To date, neither hot gas desulfurization systems nor the more critical hot gas particulate removal systems have achieved the performance or cost requirements for commercial systems.
The committee recommends that a critical assessment of hot gas cleanup systems for advanced IGCC and PFBC be undertaken immediately to determine the likely costs and the ability to meet, within the next three to five years, all requirements for future high-temperature (>1260 °C [2300 °F]) turbine operation and environmental acceptability.
The increased complexity of advanced power generation systems implies not only that commercialization of new technology will be expensive but also that prudent stepwise scale-up from pilot plant through demonstration to commercial systems is necessary to minimize the technical risk at each stage. Thus, demonstration plants—such as those being constructed and operated under the CCT program—are an important step in establishing a commercially available technology. Given the high cost of advanced technology demonstrations, the committee recognizes the need for DOE cost sharing to promote U.S. technical leadership and competitiveness, particularly in environmental technologies. The majority of the ongoing CCT projects address advanced electric power generation systems and associated high-performance pollution control devices. While most of the demonstrations are not yet complete, the level of private sector support suggests that the programs have generally been thoughtfully chosen.
The committee recommends that DOE support of the current Clean Coal Technology program be continued and that the ongoing program be completed. While no further solicitations are planned under the existing CCT program, the FE coal R&D program should continue to cofund demonstrations of selected Group 2 and Group 3 advanced clean coal technologies beyond those currently being demonstrated by the CCT program.
When advancing a new technology to commercial maturity, the first-of-a-kind (or pioneer) commercial plant is generally more costly to build than subsequent plants and provides only partial information about operating, maintenance, and cost issues. Between two and five applications of a new technology are generally required for it to be considered mature and commercially demonstrated. The committee concluded that federal cost sharing of the risk differential between pioneer coal-based power plants and commercially available technologies has the potential to accelerate the commercial acceptance of many of the new technologies such that they will be available to meet market needs in the mid-term period (2006-2020).