The gasification process can produce syngas from high-sulfur coal, heavy petroleum residues and biomass.
The plant is called integrated because its syngas is produced in a gasification unit in the plant which has been optimized for the plant's combined cycle. In this example the syngas produced is used as fuel in a gas turbine which produces electrical power. To improve the overall process efficiency heat is recovered from both the gasification process and also the gas turbine exhaust in 'Waste Heat Boilers' producing steam. This steam is then used in steam turbines to produce additional electrical power.
In 2007 there were only two IGCC plants generating power in the U.S.; however, several new IGCC plants are expected to come online in the U.S. in the 2012-2020 time frame. The DOE Clean Coal Demonstration Project helped construct 3 IGCC plants: Wabash River Power Station in West Terre Haute, Indiana, Polk Power Station in Tampa, Florida (online 1996), and Pinon Pine in Reno, Nevada. In the Reno demonstration project, researchers found that then-current IGCC technology would not work more than 300 feet (100m) above sea level. The plant failed. 
Poland's Kędzierzyn will soon host a Zero-Emission Power & Chemical Plant that combines coal gasification technology with Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). The supplement of up to 10% biomass in the combustion process will make this plant even more environmentally-friendly.
The first generation of IGCC plants polluted less than contemporary coal-based technology, but also polluted water; for example, the Wabash River Plant was out of compliance with its water permit during 1998–2001 because it emitted arsenic, selenium and cyanide. The Wabash River Generating Station is now wholly owned and operated by the Wabash River Power Association.
There are several advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional post combustion carbon capture and various variations and these are fully discussed at .
 Cost and reliability
The main problem for IGCC is its extremely high capital cost, upwards of $3,593/kW. Official US government figures give more optimistic estimates  of $1,491/kW installed capacity (2005 dollars) v. $1,290 for a conventional clean coal facility, but in light of current applications, these cost estimates have been demonstrated to be incorrect.
Outdated per megawatt-hour cost of an IGCC plant vs a pulverized coal plant coming online in 2010 would be $56 vs $52, and it is claimed that IGCC becomes even more attractive when you include the costs of carbon capture and sequestration, IGCC becoming $79 per megawatt-hour vs. $95 per megawatt-hour for pulverized coal.  Recent testimony in regulatory proceedings show the cost of IGCC to be twice that predicted by Goddell, from $96 to 104/MWhr.  That's before addition of carbon capture and sequestration (sequestration has been a mature technology at both Weyburn in the US (for enhanced oil recovery) and Sleipner in the North Sea at a commercial scale for the past ten years)—capture at a 90% rate is expected to have a $30/MWh additional cost.
Wabash River was down repeatedly for long stretches due to gasifier problems, and the gasifier problems have not been remedied—subsequent projects, such as Excelsior's Mesaba Project, have a third gasifier and train built in. However, the past year has seen Wabash River running reliably, with availability comparable to or better than other technologies.
The Polk County IGCC has design problems. First, the project was initially shut down because of corrosion in the slurry pipeline that fed slurried coal from the rail cars into the gasifier. A new coating for the pipe was developed. Second, the thermocoupler was replaced in less than two years; an indication that the gasifier had problems with a variety of feedstocks; from bituminous to sub-bituminous coal. The gasifer was designed to also handle lower rank lignites. Third, unplanned down time on the gasifer because of refractory liner problems, and those problems were expensive to repair. The gasifer design was originally done in Italy for a gasifier smaller by 2 x what was built at Polk. Newer cermanic materials may assist in improving gasifier performance and longevity. Understanding the operating problems of the built IGCC is necessary to design the IGCC of the future. (Polk IGCC Power Plant, http://www.clean-energy.us/projects/polk_florida.html.) Keim, K., 2009, IGCC A Project on Sustainability Management Systmes for Plant Re-Design and Re-Image. Unpublished paper; Harvard University)
General Electric is currently designing an IGCC model plant that should introduce greater reliability. GE's model features advanced turbines optimized for the coal syngas. Eastman's industrial gasification plant in Kingsport, TN uses a GE Energy solid-fed gasifier. Eastman, a fortune 500 company, built the facility in 1983 without any state or federal subsidies and turns a profit. 
There are several refinery-based IGCC plants in Europe that have demonstrated good availability (90-95%) after initial shakedown periods. Several factors help this performance:
None of these facilities use advanced technology (F type) gas turbines.
All refinery-based plants use refinery residues, rather than coal, as the feedstock. This eliminates coal handling and coal preparation equipment and its problems. Also, there is a much lower level of ash produced in the gasifier, which reduces cleanup and downtime in its gas cooling and cleaning stages.
These non-utility plants have recognized the need to treat the gasification system as an up-front chemical processing plant, and have reorganized their operating staff accordingly.
Another IGCC success story has been the 250 MW Buggenum plant in The Netherlands. It also has good availability. This coal-based IGCC plant currently uses about 30% biomass as a supplemental feedstock. The owner, NUON, is paid an incentive fee by the government to use the biomass. NUON is constructing a 1,300 MW IGCC plant in the Netherlands. The Nuon Magnum IGCC power plant will be commissioned in 2011. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been awarded to construct the power plant.
A new generation of IGCC-based coal-fired power plants has been proposed, although none is yet under construction. Projects are being developed by AEP, Duke Energy, and Southern Company in the US, and in Europe by ZAK/PKE, Centrica (UK), E.ON and RWE (both Germany) and NUON (Netherlands). In Minnesota, the state's Dept. of Commerce analysis found IGCC to have the highest cost, with an emissions profile not significantly better than pulverized coal. In Delaware, the Delmarva and state consultant analysis had essentially the same results.
The high cost of IGCC is the biggest obstacle to its integration in the power market; however, most energy executives recognize that carbon regulation is coming soon. Bills requiring carbon reduction are being proposed again both the House and the Senate, and with the Democratic majority it seems likely that with the next President there will be a greater push for carbon regulation. The Supreme Court decision requiring the EPA to regulate carbon (Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al.) also speaks to the likelihood of future carbon regulations coming sooner, rather than later. With carbon capture, the cost of electricity from an IGCC plant would increase approximately 30%. For a natural gas CC, the increase is approximately 33%. For a pulverized coal plant, the increase is approximately 68%. This potential for less expensive carbon capture makes IGCC an attractive choice for keeping low cost coal an available fuel source in a carbon constrained world.
In Japan, electric power companies, in conjunction with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been operating a 200 t/d IGCC pilot plant since the early '90s. In September 2007, they started up a 250 MW demo plant in Nakaso. It runs on air-blown (not oxygen) dry feed coal only. It burns PRB coal with an unburned carbon content ratio of <0.1% and no detected leaching of trace elements. It employs not only F type turbines but G type as well. (see gasification.org link below)
Next generation IGCC plants with CO2 capture technology will be expected to have higher thermal efficiency and to hold the cost down because of simplified systems compared to conventional IGCC. The main feature is that instead of using oxygen and nitrogen to gasify coal, they use oxygen and CO2. The main advantage is that it is possible to improve the performance of cold gas efficiency and to reduce the unburned carbon (char).
With a 1300 degrees C class gas turbine it is possible to achieve 42% net thermal efficiency, rising to 45% with a 1500 degree class gas turbine, with CO2 capture. In case of conventional IGCC systems, it is only possible to achieve just over 30% efficiency with a 1300 degree gas turbine.
The CO2 extracted from gas turbine exhaust gas is utilized in this system. Using a closed gas turbine system capable of capturing the CO2 by direct compression and liquefication obviates the need for a separation and capture system.
 Recent Emerging IGCC Emission Controversy
In 2007, the New York State Attorney General's office demanded full disclosure of "financial risks from greenhouse gases" to the shareholders of electric power companies proposing the development of IGCC coal-fired power plants. "Any one of the several new or likely regulatory initiatives for CO2 emissions from power plants - including state carbon controls, EPA's regulations under the Clean Air Act, or the enactment of federal global warming legislation - would add a significant cost to carbon-intensive coal generation"; U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton from New York, a 2008 Presidential Candidate, has proposed that this full risk disclosure be required of all publicly-traded power companies nationwide. This honest disclosure has begun to reduce investor interest in all types of existing-technology coal-fired power plant development, including IGCC.
Senator Harry Reid (Majority Leader of the 2007/2008 U.S. Senate) told the 2007 Clean Energy Summit that he will do everything he can to stop construction of proposed new IGCC coal-fired electric power plants in Nevada. Reid wants Nevada utility companies to invest in solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy instead of coal technologies. Reid stated that global warming is a reality, and just one proposed coal-fired plant would contribute to it by burning seven million tons of coal a year. The long-term healthcare costs would be far too high. "I'm going to do everything I can to stop these plants.", he said. "There is no clean coal technology. There is cleaner coal technology, but there is no clean coal technology