IGCC Power Plant integrated to a Finnish pulp and paper mill: IEA Bioenergy: Techno-economic analysis activity

Tiina Koljonen, Yrjö Solantausta, Kari Salo, Andras Horvath

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    In Finland, the pulp and paper industry is the largest consumer of energy among the industries and its power demand will increase due to economical and strict environmental requirements. The ageing of oil and biomass boilers in Finland also represents a window of opportunity for the introduction of new environmentally sound technology with a high efficiency in power production, e.g., in biomass gasification. This site-specific study describes the technical and economic feasibility of a biomass gasification combined cycle producing heat and power for a typical Finnish pulp and paper mill. The mill produces SC (super calantered) paper 500 000 ADt/a. The paper mill employs sulphate pulp and GW (ground wood) pulp. The capacity of the pulp mill is 400 000 ADt/a (air dry ton/year) of which 120 000 ADt/a is used at the site. The heat demand of the integrate is covered by a recovery boiler and a bark boiler. A condensing steam turbine with two extractions generates electricity for the mill. The aim is to replace an old bark boiler by an IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) to enhance the economy and environmental performance of the power plant. The IGCC feasibility study is conducted for an pulp and paper integrate because of its suitable infrastructure for IGCC and a large amount of wood waste available at the site. For comparison, the feasibility of an IGCC integrated to a pulp mill is also assessed. The IGCC concept described is based on research and development work performed by Carbona, Inc., who acquired the rights for know-how of Enviropower, Inc. The operation and design of the IGCC concept is based on a 20 MWe gas turbine (MW151). The heat of gas turbine exhaust gas is utilised in a HRSG (Heat Recovery Steam Generator) of two pressure levels to generate steam for the pulp and paper mill and the steam turbine. The IGCC power plant operates in condensing mode. The total investment cost of the IGCC plant is estimated at FIM 417 million (USD 83.4 million), which is about double compared to that of the new bark boiler and the steam turbine. The techno-economic assessment of the biomass IGCC integrated to a pulp and paper mill or a pulp mill indicated that the IGCC will be competitive compared to the conventional bark boiler steam cycle. The IGCC integrated to a pulp and paper mill was slightly more economical than the IGCC pulp mill integrate. However, it should be borne in mind that the internal rate of return (IRR) was relatively low in both cases or even negative with high biomass fuel prices. As the IGCC produces about 50% more electricity from the same fuel amount than the regular power plant its economics will improve with higher electricity prices (>200 FIM /MWh, 40 USD/MWh) compared to that of the conventional boiler plant. According to the Finnish energy policy, the use of bioenergy should be increased by at least one quarter by the year 2005. To achieve this target, the Finnish Government should grant investment aid for the construction of demonstration plants to promote advanced power production, like gasification. The Finnish energy policy is also in line with the objectives of the European Union, which also grants investment supports. In this study, an investment aid of 50% was assumed. With an investment cost of FIM 200 million (USD 40 million) the IRR value of the IGCC plant increased to about 10%. Based on test runs at a pilot plant (15 MJ/s) in Tampere and on the experience of Carbona the pressurised gasification technology can be considered ready for demonstration. There are, however, some technical uncertainty related to full-scale continuos operation of the biomass IGCC related to hot gas cleaning of gas contaminants, fuel handling and feeding, operating parameters of the gasifier, bed material selection, special material problems, and environmental performance, especially, if specific feedstock with a high alkaline, ash or other harmful contaminant content is used. The full-scale demonstration of advanced technology also requires reliable, cost-stable biomass feedstock. To make biomass feedstocks competitive compared to fossil fuels, emphasis should be placed on fuel logistics and research and development of biomass plantations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages82
    ISBN (Print)951-38-5425-6
    Publication statusPublished - 1999
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes


    • gasification
    • biomass
    • energy production
    • paper mills
    • boilers
    • IGCC


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