Thai petrochemical company IRPC, together with GE Energy and General Carbon, is to register a proposed cogeneration power plant at its petrochemical complex in Rayong province as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project. The CDM programme is an international emissions reduction initiative overseen by the United Nations.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with GE and General Carbon to seek project approval from the board that oversees the CDM programme. If approved, IRPC would become the first company in the world to receive certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) for reducing emissions after converting to a new energy technology that uses cleaner-burning natural gas, says GE.

IRPC plans to replace the petrochemical complex’s old fuel oil power plant with a new, 200 MW, natural gas-fuelled cogeneration plant. The project is planned to help improve the facility’s energy efficiency, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air emissions in this industrial area. The proposed plant would be powered by six Frame 6B gas turbines supplied by GE Oil & Gas.

The new CHP plant is expected to enable IRPC to reduce its emissions by an estimated 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, making the project eligible for 400,000 CERs that could be sold in the global carbon marketplace.

General Carbon plans to develop the project design document and manage the CDM process through to registration with the CDM’s executive board, and will also facilitate the monetization of the carbon credits for IRPC if the natural gas cogeneration plant is successfully registered.

Presently, IRPC’s fuel-oil power plant generates 48 MW of power and IRPC still needs to buy an additional 100 MW from the local grid to meet the total energy requirements of the complex. In comparison, the proposed gas-fired cogeneration plant would have a capacity of 200 MW, capable of supplying all of IRPC’s refinery requirements.