Ohio board okays latest Lima Energy iteration – without 525-MW component

The Ohio Power Siting Board on May 19 approved the latest changes for the long-stalled Lima Energy project, which involves a petroleum coke (coal could be a backup feedstock) gasification facility to be located in Lima, Ohio.

In 2002, the board granted an application of Lima Energy for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to construct a 580-MW integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) facility).

In 2004, Lima Energy filed an application for an amendment to its certificate to modify the proposed facility. The modification included using a slurry-fed, entrained flow, slagging gasiflcation technology. Lima Energy anticipated that this change in gasification technology would double the size of the air separation unit and increase the water consumption of the facility by two million gallons per day (MGD), from 4 MGD to 6 MGD, but otherwise would not significantly affect the arrangement of the facility, plant emissions, noise emissions, sulfur or synthetic aggregate production, or net generator output. That amendment was granted in 2004.

In June 2014, Lima Energy filed the application in the just-decided case requesting a second amendment to its certificate. In its second amendment, Lima Energy proposed a reconfigured facility that would utilize waste heat recovery steam generation to produce electric energy, primarily for site-load purposes. The reconfiguration includes the addition of Fischer-Tropsch (Gas-to-Liquids) technology for the production of Ultra Clean Synthetic Crude (UCSC) and is expected to generate as much as 100 MW of waste heat recovery steam turbine power, with the potential to further expand to 250 MW.

However, the application noted that there is some uncertainty regarding the final generation capacity of the waste heat recovery steam turbine due to the need to optimize the final operating parameters of the Gas-to-Liquids and associated UCSC production process after construction and initial shake-down of the facility. Additionally, the application notes that only one steam turbine generator is intended for the UCSC power generation component, Finally, in addition to the waste heat recovery steam turbine component, the application included a proposal to construct a stand-alone 525-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility at some point in the future.

In June 2015, Lima Energy and American Future Fuels Corp. filed a joint motion and memorandum in support to transfer the certificate for this facility to American, and to substitute American as the applicant in this second amendment case. The board approved that substitution.

Board staff notes that American no longer intends to construct a facility to produce synthetic gas for use as fuel in a combined cycle generation facility. Instead, American proposes to use Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert its synthetic gas to a UCSC product for sale. American proposes to construct the facility in three phases. In the first two phases, American would construct the Gas-to-Liquids and waste heat recovery facilities. Thereafter, in the third phase, American would construct the 525-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle facility, consisting of two natural gas-fired turbines and a steam turbine electric generator.

Staff said that the second amendment application in this case is more than just an amendment to a certificated facility. Staff asserts that the first two phases proposed in the second amendment application warrant a single amendment to the facility that was originally certified by the board. However, the third phase to build a stand-alone combined cycle facility is an independent project that warrants its own case. Staff said the sole purpose of the combined cycle facility is to generate electricity for export to the electric grid, but the applicant has not yet initiated the necessary studies with PJM Interconnection in order to accomplish this.

Staff limited the scope of its review to the first two phases of the second amendment application and recommended that the board not certify the combined cycle project.

Said the May 19 ruling: “The Board notes that American’s second amendment application should be approved, but American must file additional amendnnent applications with the Board if it intends to construct the standalone 525 MW natural gas-fired combined cycle electric generating facility or if it intends to interconnect to the grid to export power. This will provide Staff with the opportunity to properly evaluate grid impacts of the facility and will satisfy the requirements of [state rules] to file not more than five years prior to the planned date of commencement of construction. Accordingly, American’s certificate should be amended to incorporate the proposed modifications, as described in the second amendment application filed on June 25, 2014, and consistent with Staff’s recommendations as adopted in this Order on Certificate Amendment.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.