While the plant will produce hydrogen, this will largely be used at the site, rather than becoming a commercial product. The site notes (most of this information is from the FutureGen site) that there are two existing IGCC sites, one at Tampa Electric, and one at Terre Haute.
The combustion technology for these Integrated coal Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants is a combination of two technologies, and as described at Tampa:
The first technology is called "coal gasification," which uses coal to create a clean-burning gas. The second technology is called "combined-cycle," which is the most efficient method of producing electricity commercially available today.Wikipedia has a circuit diagram of the process.The Terre Haute plant has changed hands since it was first built.
The plant combines coal with oxygen in the gasifier to produce the gaseous fuel. After processing, the clean coal gas is used in the combustion turbine to produce electricity.Combined-cycle technology increases efficiency because it reuses exhaust heat to produce more electricity.
Combined-cycle design consists of a combustion turbine, a heat recovery steam generator, and a steam turbine. The exhaust heat from the combustion turbine is recovered in the heat recovery steam generator to produce steam. This steam then passes through a steam turbine to produce more electricity. . . . . .
The coal gasification unit provides clean, coal-fueled power, with a minimum removal of 95 percent of the sulfur from the coal gas. This exceeds the performance of today's most advanced coal-fired generating units. Furthermore, nitrogen oxides emissions are also lower than many of today’s most advanced coal-fired generating units. The sulfuric acid and solid byproducts are then sold for industry use. The plant is considered "zero process water discharge.” A brine concentration unit, which produces an effluent that is reused in the process, handles all of the liquid waste.
So we will see how the politics plays out on this, this time around, given that it appears to have the blessing of the Secretary of Energy.
Turning to the Natural Gas Weekly Update the news for gas producers remains unfortunate (though good for customers). While the Henry Hub price remains around $4 per kcf (thousand cubic feet) prices west of the Mississippi have dropped to under $3, with the Opal trading hub in Wyoming seeing a price of $2.53. There has recently been a surplus of gas in the West, and the Rockies Express pipeline was supposed to allow easier passage to the markets of the East. It is already helping in that regard, but it still has a long way to get to the Northeast where demand, and a cold snap put the price up to over $9.13 on the coldest day. Winter is, however, coming to an end, and so it remains unlikely that the trends in the graph that the site updates each week, are going to change soon.