Duke Energy’s 618 MW Edwardsport integrated power and gasification plant, located in Knox County, Indiana, has entered commercial operation.
The advanced technology coal gasification plant is said to be one of the world’s cleanest coal-fired power generating facilities. It uses the most recent technology to gasify coal, strip out pollutants, and then burn the resulting cleaner gas to produce electricity in a combined cycle plant. The technology should substantially reduce the environmental impact of burning coal to produce electric power.
"Coal has powered Indiana for more than a century," said Duke Energy Indiana president Doug Esamann. "But today’s air quality standards require us to use that fuel in a cleaner, more efficient way. Edwardsport turns coal into a cleaner-burning fuel and enables us to continue using an abundant local resource."
Edwardsport completed the necessary steps to be declared commercial on June 7. As the company testified before state regulators, this is the first time the technology has been used on this scale, so the plant is expected to build up to its long-term level of availability over the next 15 months. It will provide Indiana customers with power for decades.
"Edwardsport replaces about 500 MW of older coal-fired generation that we recently retired or expect to retire soon due to new EPA regulations," Esamann said. "The average age of coal-fired plants on our Indiana system is 45 years, and this facility is key to modernising our system and filling the gap left by plant retirements."
Duke says that Edwardsport will:
– Produce 10 times as much power as the former plant, but with about 70 % fewer emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates combined.
– Reduce carbon dioxide emissions per MWh by nearly half compared to the plant it replaces.
– Generate marketable byproducts. The plant will produce sulphur and slag for agricultural and construction materials.
– Use less water than a conventional coal-fired plant.

The plant will employ about 140 full-time workers. In addition, the 1.7 million to 1.9 million tons of coal the plant will use each year will support an estimated 170 mining jobs.