Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants are energy systems mainly composed of a gasifier and a combined cycle power plant. Since the gasification process usually requires oxygen as the oxidant, an Air Separation Unit is also part of the plant. Moreover, a producer gas cleaning unit is always present between the gasifier and the gas turbine. With respect to Natural Gas Combined Cycles (NGCCs), IGCCs are characterized by a consistent loss in the overall plant efficiency due to the conversion of the raw fuel in the gasifier and the electrical power parasitized for fuel production which considerably reduces plant net electric power. In order to reduce this loss, synergies among the different components of the plant should be improved. In this paper, an analysis of state-of-the-art IGCC plant components is presented. Particular interest is given to characteristic energy and flow streams in order to evaluate possible synergies and optimizations. Moreover, a simulation model of an IGCC plant, built in a commercial energy system simulation environment, is set up and the influence of ambient conditions on IGCC net power output is analyzed. The suggestions gained from the current paper and the simulation model will be used in the Part II of this paper to evaluate the capability of a strategy for IGCC power augmentation, based on ASU discharged nitrogen utilization. Copyright © 2012 by ASME.
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