Innovative technologies to improve efficiency of thermal power plants

Innovative technologies to improve efficiency of thermal power plants

Power sector is one of the key infrastructure sectors of India.Continued economic growth and focus on ‘Power for All’ is driving the electricity demand and fuelling capacity addition. India’s power sector is quite diversified with fuel sources ranging from conventional such as coal, gas, oil, hydro and nuclear, to non-conventional sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

However, thermal power generation has the lion’s share of the kitty with about 65 percent of the total electricity generated in India. Within thermal capacities, coal-based plants accountfor the majority, followed by gas-based units. Though India is the third-largest producer of coal globally, the highash content in Indian coal remains a factor of concern.

While there has been much concerted effort to increase generation of electricity from renewable energies such as solar and wind, the target to achieve 175 GW of Renewable Energy Sources (RES)capacities by 2022 seems ambitious. However, India's grid-connected renewable power capacity, excluding hydel but including solar, is currently estimated at around 63 GW only.Thermal power is therefore the mainstay of electricity generation in India. It stands at 220 GW as ofFebruary 2018, of which coal-based capacities alone amount to 194 GW. Hence given the target to achieve above 8% GDP growth over the next years, in our opinion thermal and more particularly coal-based power generation would continue to play a significant role in meeting India’s electricity demands.

The major issues impacting most of India’s coal-based power plants are lower Plant Load Factor (PLF) and increased emission levels. The thermal power plants are stressed as the PLF has been continuously falling from 77.5% in 2009-10 to 60.24% in 2007-08 (till December 2017). The situation for private thermal power plants is worse with the drop in same period being from 83.9% to 55.82%. Surplus capacity and lack of long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are some the key underlying factors resulting in the plunge. 

In December 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued stricter norms for emissions and water consumption for coal-based thermal power sector. According to the new standards, thermal power plants are expected to cut emissions and usage of water measurably. It is not clear what the penalties for failure might be, especially in the short-run (while plants are scrambling to improve their technology).

Though the norms have been welcomed by most environmentalists, gaps remain in their viability and implementation.Adoption of more efficient technologies could help bridge this gap. To this endLJUNGSTRÖM has introduced AdvX™ Heat Recovery Technologyto redefine the role of the combustion air preheater. AdvX™ technology can save Indian Thermal Power Plant owners more than$2 Billion in compliance costs.

LJUNGSTRÖM’s innovative AdvX™Heat Recovery Technology offers many benefits:

  • AdvX™Auxiliary Heat technology is built to recover and utilize additional heat from flue gas, maximizing efficiency and saving cost significantly in both the short and long-term.
  • AdvX™ Stack Gas Reheat is the most efficient way to clean and dry stack. The AdvX™ Stack Gas Reheat system will capture and utilize excess heat from flue gas, enhancing the operational efficiency and add to cost saving significantly.
  • AdvX™ Upgrade solutions are the easiest way to improve thermal plant’s efficiency. The technology has been purposefully designed and built to enable the most efficient operation of thermal plants. With advanced configurations that increase efficiency with a low draft loss, AdvX™Upgrade Solutions push boundaries so that thermal plants can reach their goals.

For emissions reduction, LJUNGSTRÖM supports the retrofit of SCR installation to remove NOx by upgrading the air preheater to a configuration suitable for operation after an SCR. These solutions have been developed and refined by LJUNGSTRÖM since the 1970s when SCRs were first installed in Japan, and have since developed into the standard practices in use around the world today. LJUNGSTRÖM’sproducts and solutions have an unmatched long and proven track record.

For Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) to remove SOx, LJUNGSTRÖMpioneered gas-gas heaters in the 1980s and today the LJUNGSTRÖM Gas-Gas heater (GGH) platform is one of the most demonstrated designs on wet limestone and seawater FGD globally.

One of the biggest challenges in the thermal power sector is variance. The coal power plants vary in age, technology, size, location, ownership, load factor (utilisation factor), etc.AdvX™ technology has the flexibility to be tailor-made for the entire range of thermal power plants in operation. It can also be deployed in power plants having space constraints which prevent deployment of alternative technologies. Coupled with its low-cost, simplicity and high effectiveness, this unquestionably makes AdvX™ the technology of the future. Considering that any cost incurred in power generation is finally passed on to the consumer in one form or the other, the huge cost benefit AdvX™ offers is a game changer in the arena of thermal power plant operations. 


    Pankaj Chopra, Managing Director, ARVOS Energy India Private Limited

@EPC World Media



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