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be overly optimistic given the current state of technology. On the other hand, DOE's power plant emission goals appear to be insufficiently challenging relative to the capabilities of current commercial technology and the environmental demands expected on future coal use.
The market for Group I systems (LEBS, PFBC-1, and IGCC-1, with approximately 40 to 42 percent efficiency) will probably be small in the United States. The overseas market may offer the best opportunities for commercialization. In particular, because LEBS offers comparatively small potential to evolve to a significantly higher performance system, it will be attractive only if it achieves a significant cost reduction relative to current commercial systems with comparable performance.
For group 2 and 3 systems with 45 to 60 percent targeted efficiency, new technological achievements are required to achieve the goals defined by DOE, including development of high-temperature gas turbines, high-temperature heat exchangers, hot gas cleanup systems, and advanced fuel cells.
Overall, gasification-based systems offer the lowest risk and highest potential for lower emissions and higher efficiency than current technology, but cost expectations need to be more clearly defined.
System optimization cost and market studies are needed to define the roles and relative merits of the systems now being funded.
While most of the DOE gas turbine program is funded under the DOE natural gas budget, the future of many of the high-efficiency options for efficient coal use depends on firing these same turbines with gas from coal gasification or pressurized fluidized-bed combustion.
The gas turbine program under the DOE coal budget is appropriately focused on assessing the problem of trace material contamination (e.g., alkali metals) and possible solutions, such as special turbine materials, especially when hot gas cleanup is used.
The integrated gasification fuel cell system offers the highest efficiency and lowest emissions of power generation systems under development within the DOE program. However, high fuel cell cost may be a significant barrier to widespread use, and a carefully documented projection of the potential for cost reduction is needed to establish program priorities.
The highest efficiency for IGFC systems will be obtained with hot gas cleanup; however, the requirements for contaminant removal need to be established.
The molten carbonate fuel cell offers the most promise among the current fuel cell options for IGFC power generation systems.
Overall, current DOE priorities as reflected in the FY 1994 budget authorization and the FY 1995 budget request for advanced power systems—including the fuel cell and gas turbine components of the natural gas program—are consistent with the committee's view of priorities across different power generating options.