Economic Evaluation of IGCC Plants with Hot Gas Cleaning

FCN Working Paper No. 22/2010

41 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2011

See all articles by Tobias Melchior

Tobias Melchior

RWTH Aachen University

Reinhard Madlener

RWTH Aachen University

Date Written: December 2010


This paper investigates whether coal- or biomass-fired Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) power plants can serve as an economically viable future technology for providing clean electricity and heat in Germany. In the context of CO2 emission reduction in power generation, energy conversion technologies that enable the implementation of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) need to be considered. IGCC is one such technology, as it utilizes coal or biomass but does not necessarily emit CO2. We therefore investigate whether IGCC plants can, from an economic perspective, be an alternative to nuclear and/or conventional coal-fired power plants. Our research is undertaken with the help of scenario analysis. The possible shut-down of nuclear power stations as well as of outdated coal-fired power plants, together with the evolution of CO2 prices, provides the starting point of our study. The option of hot gas cleaning in IGCC plants is of particular interest, as it is expected to significantly enhance the efficiency of IGCC technology and allows for combined heat and power production (CHP). Corresponding supplementary earnings (incl. subsidies) are compared with an increase in specific investment costs. Besides the hot gas cleaning advancement, we also investigate the injection of pure CO2 (separated from the IGCC process) into oilfields, as it reduces the costs of CO2 transport and storage through Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Based on the results, a judgement on the ability of IGCC technology to replace nuclear power stations and/or conventional coal-fired power plants in Germany is made. Net present values calculated provide decision-support for energy suppliers about the if and when to invest in IGCC plants. We find that only a partial substitution of current power plants by IGCC facilities is reasonable, e.g. for locational reasons, whereas a complete abandonment of IGCC technology seems to be unlikely from the current point of view.

Keywords: IGCC, Economic evaluation, Hot gas cleaning

Suggested Citation

Melchior, Tobias and Madlener, Reinhard, Economic Evaluation of IGCC Plants with Hot Gas Cleaning (December 2010). FCN Working Paper No. 22/2010. Available at SSRN: or

Tobias Melchior

RWTH Aachen University ( email )

Templergraben 55
52056 Aachen, 52056

Reinhard Madlener (Contact Author)

RWTH Aachen University ( email )

School of Business and Economics / E.ON ERC
Mathieustraße 10
Aachen, 52074
+49 241 80 49 820 (Phone)
+49 241 80 49 829 (Fax)


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