Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP)
Clean Coal Power Initiative, US
In May 2016 the faith of the TCEP turned uncertain as the US Department of Energy (DoE) suspended further funding for the project.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said of the Texas Clean Energy Project: "It's just time to move on and to invest in some new innovative technologies because of the lack of milestones being met." The Obama administration has backed away from four carbon capture projects under its Clean Coal Power Initiative. This would be the fifth.
While the the project is not officially dead, continued refusal by the Department of Energy to extend any more money would effectively kill it, according to Summit Power.
The DOE committed $450 million, of which $116 million has been allocated. Unused portions of Recovery Act funds allocated to the project expired in September 2015, reducing the total funding to $346 million. In the past six years, the estimated costs of the project have soared from $1.98 billion to to $3.98 billion. Private investment, meanwhile, is $45 million in the development phase, according to official documents.
The Clean Air Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council, Great Plains Institute, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and Third Way has all expressed concern over the desicion. In a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz , the groups singled out the Texas project as being a particularly important demonstration of CCS technology on coal.
Summit Power Group is developing a 400MW, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant at Penwell, Texas, which will also incorporate CCS technology. The project - known as the Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) - is delayed. Final investment decision was expected September 2015. Construction was scheduled to begin at the same time, with start-up planned for 2016, now the builders seem to be forced to either find other sources of funding or shelve the project.
If Summit Power finds a way out they could start spending the estimated $2.5 billion required to build the plant and satisfy requirements of the Department of Energy, which granted about $450 million for the project.
In September 2012, the project signed an MoU with Sinopec and The Export-Import Bank of China which cleared a path for Sinopec to be given EPC work for the project. After contracts are in place, the bank is expected to provide a loan of over $1 billion towards financing.
In July 2011, a long-term CO2 sales agreement was signed with Whiting Petroleum Corporation. Milestone EPC and operational contracts were signed in December 2011. Other progress includes major utility firm CPS Energy signing an agreement in January 2012 to purchase about 200MW of power from TCEP - the first US purchase of low-carbon power by a utility from a coal-based power plant fitted with carbon capture. The project FEED study has been carried out by Fluor Corporation, which is no longer involved in the initiative.
The project will be sited above the Permian Basin in West Texas, where the world’s largest and most active enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations are in progress. It will be the first coal-fired power facility in the US to combine both IGCC and CCS, and could well be a world first. The US Department of Energy considers it a major demonstration project in its pursuit of clean energy.
The technologies and components to be used have already proven in commercial operation, including twin Siemens gasifiers, which will be modified to use syngas from gasified coal to fuel the power plant. This process will, in itself, have significantly fewer emissions than a conventional coal-fired plant and aims for a 90% capture rate - or 2.5 million tonnes per year of CO2. Some of the power output will be used to run project equipment, compress CO2 and produce other products, including ammonia.
Siemens and Linde have joined forces to provide engineering, major equipment and construction for the project. The air separation technology is widely used for commercial production of pure gas from the atmospheric constituents of air. The Rectisol gas clean-up process has been in use for decades. The Haber ammonia production process is almost 100 years old and is used in ammonia plants.
Besides CO2, the TCEP would produce urea, electric power and to a lesser degree, sulfuric acid. Summit renewed an agreement in October with CPS Energy in San Antonio to sell electric power to the utility
Financial closing was expected around the time of groundbreaking,then scheduled for late 2015, and now very uncertain.
The total capital cost of the project is estimated at more than $2.5 billion. In December 2009, US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced that TCEP would receive a $350 million and, in August 2010, it was awarded a further $100 million. The awards comprise funding from both the Clean Coal Power Initiative and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Export-Import Bank of China is expected to provide a loan of over $1 billion.
The project was expected to begin operating in 2016. The project reached a major milestone in February 2012 when it finalised EPC contracts with Siemens Energy, Selas Fluid Processing Corporation and SK Engineering & Construction - with a total value of around $2 billion. A 15-year operations and maintenance contract was also signed with Linde’s Gases Division. A DoE decision in October 2011 has cleared the way for public funds to be spent beyond engineering and design studies.
Siemens, Fluor and Selas Fluid Processing Corporation began the FEED study on 30 June 2010, and an environmental impact statement is being prepared for the US Department of Energy. TCEP received its air quality permit in December 2010.
More information and press releases
Laura Miller, director Texas Projects, 001-214 763 0600, email email@example.com
A capture rate of 90 per cent – or 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year – is expected. The captured gas will be treated, compressed and then transported by pipeline to oilfields in the Permian Basin of West Texas, for use in enhanced oil recovery operations.
The Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the University of Texas will be designing a CO2 sequestration monitoring, verification and accounting programme that will help achieve not just EOR but CCS for that contributes to climate policy goals.