The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Tampa Electric Company (TECO) joined to celebrate the startup of a pilot project to demonstrate warm gas cleanup carbon capture technology in a coal gasification unit at the Polk Power Plant Unit-1 in Tampa, Fla.

Over 20 years ago, the DOE helped TECO with funding for the construction of the Polk Power Plant, which became the first coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant in the U.S.

Gas cleaning at power plants to remove contaminates like carbon dioxide, mercury, and sulfur is typically done at low temperatures. IGCC technology, or warm gas cleanup, has posed a technical challenge to scientists for more than 30 years. It has the potential to improve the energy efficiency of removing pollutants from coal power plant emissions, which could help reduce the overall cost of capturing carbon dioxide and other contaminant emissions from power plants. The TECO project is the first to use IGCC on a large-scale.

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 “Fossil Fuels will be a major part of America’s energy supply for decades to come, and today’s demonstration is a major step forward in the effort to develop and deploy our coal resources in the cleanest way possible,” said Julio Friedmann, Ph.D., the DOE’s deputy assistant secretary for Clean Coal. “This partnership between the Department and Tampa Electric represents our commitment to fostering the next generation of carbon capture technologies that drive down costs, increase efficiency, and help ensure a sustainable future for America’s energy supply.”