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During the initial years of operation ELCOGAS made important progress in demonstrating the potential, including faults and virtues of this technology and the main lines for its improvement and optimization were defined. In 2007 a R&D&I Investment Plan was defined and presented to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, with the overall objective of developing IGCC technology applied to sustainable power generation, reducing environmental impact at minimum production cost.

The research main lines are:

  • CO2 emission reduction using fossil fuels.
  • H2 production by gasification of fossil fuels.
  • DIVERSIFICATION of raw fuels and products.
  • IGCC processes OPTIMIZATION.
  • DISSEMINATION of results.

The Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) is the basis of the European Union energy and climate policies. It includes the working plan for the development of a portfolio of accessible, clean, efficient low-carbon emission technologies through coordinated research. ELCOGAS follows the indications appeared in the SET Plan.

For this reason, ELCOGAS is working on the IGCC production system efficiency optimization through critical analyses of the feasible ways to improve performance, consumption optimization of auxiliary units, the development of new efficiency control tools for the main units and optimization of unit integration.

In addition, ELCOGAS has installed its 14 MWt pilot plant, which uses 2% of the syngas and allows capture of 90% of the CO2 with pre-combustion technology. It is the first industrial scale plant of its kind in service in Spain and the first in the world in an IGCC plant dedicated to electricity generation.

These are the PSE-CO2 project main objectives to achieve through the pilot plant:

  • To demonstrate the feasibility of CO2 capture and H2 production in an IGCC power plant using mainly waste and fossil fuels.
  • To obtain sufficient economic data to be able to scale the pilot plant data up to the whole Puertollano power plant.

The H2 production line from fossil fuel gasification is closely related to CO2 reduction, because a H2 stream is also obtained in the CO2 separation process. However, it is considered as an independient line due to the singularity and relevance of clean, economic, sustainable H2 production in the transition towards an energy distribution and transport economy based on H2.

In this context, the activities carried out are:

  • H2 production in the IGCC plant within the PSE-CO2 project, in which 2 tons a day of 99.99% pure H2 will be obtained (HYDROSEP Project).
  • Treatment and purification of H2: This includes assessment of commercial alternatives within the PSE- CO2 project and new purification processes (CENIT-SPHERA Project)

One of the biggest advantages of IGCC technology is the possibility of using a great variety of fuels and producing multiple products. Because of this, R&D&I Department is working on technical and logistic feasibility of co-gasification of different fuels carrying out tests with fuels different from the design fuel.

These are the most important projects included in this research line:

  • Project FECUNDUS “Advanced Concepts and process for CO2 free fluidised and entrained bed co-gasification of coals” (RFCS Programme, EU). The ELCOGAS activities are focused on real co-gasification test in its power plant using biomass together with its common fuel (coal and pet-coke), studying specially the biomass influence in its pressurised entrained flow gasifier, in the whole IGCC power plant, as well as in the CO2 capture process, so the CO2 capture pilot plant will be used.
  • Project PIIBE (CENIT Programme): In this project, ELCOGAS coordinated the project related to the obtainance of biodiesel fuel from gasification of biomass. Its main results include consumption of over 3,300 tons of olive oil waste in 1,125 operating hours without significant variation in the power plant operation (closed).
  • Project PEIXE VERDE (PSE Programme): A technical and economic study of the use of syngas as fuel for fishing boats on different scales.
  • Project "Environmental improvements, sustainable use of fuels and generation of alternative products in ELCOGAS". Program: Promoting the establishment of foreign companies financed by ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones. The project is broken down into the following activities: balance of mercury in IGCC plant ELCOGAS, testing to reduce the nickel content in the leachate from the slag by an ammonia solution, study on alternative fuels and its feasibility and technical-economic evaluation of alternative products.
  • Co-gasification of waste from car manufacture.

Elcogas works in response to the growing concern among professionals and the general public over the continuous increase in industrial emissions and wastes. The activities carried out to reduce the negative effects of electricity production are:

  • Reduction of liquid effluents.
  • Improvement of the syngas cleaning and treatment systems.
  • Improvement to the sulphur recovery unit.
  • Optimization of operating parameters and additives.
  • Reduction of emissions during start-ups and other transitory situations.

The general work programme for this issue, includes research and analysis and development of proposals for technological improvements to be installed and tested in the plant. Some of these improvements are developed without interfering with normal power plant operation, meanwhile others are prepared for being installed during planned overhauls.

Optimization of IGCC processes is focussed on:

  • Improvements in the gasifier materials. Extending its working life.
  • Material testing to reduce corrosion processes due to the syngas.
  • Elimination of water leaks in the gas chamber membrane.
  • Ceramic filters improvement.
  • Improvement in the availability and working life of the gas turbine.
  • Improvement of the integration of the Air Separation Unit.
  • Analysis of Operation & Maintenance incidents related to plant availability.
  • Syngas cleaning and treatment system improvement.

ELCOGAS is committed to the power production according to a sustainable model using cheap fossil fuel and being respectful towards the environment. For this purpose, the R&D&I Department makes an important effort every year to disseminate its acquired experience and collect knowledge about the latest lines of research regarding to thermal power plants and more specifically IGCC technology.

Through its Publication and Dissemination of Results programme, ELCOGAS carries out the following activities:

  • Participation in Spanish and international forums.
  • Participation at conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • Consulting activities.
  • Attention to and promotion of technical and educational visits.

Project:         Advanced techcnologies of CO2 generation, capture and storage

Subproject:    Technology of CO2 capture

Research project funded by:

Ministry of Education & Science - PROFIT (2004-2007)
PSE contract number
Subproject number
Ministry of Science & Innovation - National Plan of Research, Development and Technological Innovation (2008-2011)