Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy has released a major new report establishing baseline performance and cost estimates for today's fossil energy plants. The report provides a foundation from which progress in research and development can be benchmarked and highlights where research is needed.
Titled Cost and Performance Baseline of Fossil Energy Plants, the 500-page report contains the most comprehensive set of publicly available data to date that estimates the cost and performance for pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined cycle, and natural gas combined cycle power plants. It compares on a consistent basis the types of technology that stakeholders may employ in future power plants.
As the Nation's most abundant domestic energy source, coal is expected to play a major role in providing energy security for the United States. Coal is capable of producing power in an environmentally sound and efficient manner, and the technological progress of recent years has created a remarkable new opportunity for coal. Advances in technology are making it possible to generate power from fossil fuels more efficiently and cost-effectively while, at the same time, significantly reducing the impact on the environment, including the long-term impact of fossil energy use on the Earth's climate.
The new report, which was prepared by the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), was compiled from published reports, information obtained from vendor quotes and users of the technology, and data from recently designed and built utility projects. It was peer-reviewed by industry experts, academia, and government research and regulatory agencies. The report is one of several upcoming Fossil Energy analytical reports.
According to NETL project manager, Julianne Klara, the report is a major asset to industry, research organizations, and government agencies. "By outlining what the current state-of-the-art is, researchers can measure progress and pinpoint in which areas innovations are needed. Utilities wishing to build fossil energy plants can also use the report as a starting point for considering the options. Regulatory agencies may also find it valuable for getting a better handle on near term prospects," Klara said.
The report was completed under the Office of Fossil Energy's Clean Coal RD&D Program, which builds on technology advances and brings these building blocks together into a new, revolutionary concept for future coal-based power and energy production. The program is pursuing multiple research paths to create a diverse portfolio of promising technologies for development, demonstration, and eventual deployment.
Ultimately the information contained in the report provides essential data needed to move research and technology development towards the affordable, environmentally sound energy production of tomorrow.