ISLAMABAD: The Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has supported 10 % blending of Thar-coal in imported-coal fired power plant of Port Qasim Electric Power Company (Pvt) Limited (PQEPCL).
PPIB offered its comments in response to a letter of Power Division’s letter to NTDC of July 22, 2022, enclosing PQEPCL’s letter of July 18, 2022, wherein PPIB’s input to the letter titled “feasibility study for conversion of imported coal of Thar coal” was solicited.
According to Managing Director PPIB, his organization approached Government of Sindh (GoS) for conduct of bankable feasibility study on the conversion of imported coal-based IPPs to Thar coal. Accordingly, GoS through SECMC engaged Consultant Fichtner GmbH KG & Co for conducting the feasibility study.
Subsequently, as per data provided by PQEPCL, Fichtner submitted a preliminary feasibility study report for conversion of imported coal-based power plant to Thar coal on June 30, 2022 which was presented to Secretary Power Division on July 9, 2022 in a meeting. In parallel the feasibility study is also being monitored by PPIB-appointed Panel of Experts (PoE) consisting of experts from the government and private sector.
As per findings of the feasibility study submitted by Fichtner, most of the PQEPCL’S plant systems have extra capacities that can handle a certain percentage of Thar Lignite with the exception of limiting equipment, i.e., Fuel Gas De-sulfurization (FGD), electrostatic precipitator, pulverizer and primary air fans.
Fichtner claimed that the power plant can operate at approximately 50% capacity on Thar coal alone without any major modifications and with 20% blending ratio the power plant can operate at 85% of capacity. If 100% operation of the plant on Thar coal is required, then equipment capacities need to be enhanced. The study performed by Fichtner is a desktop study which requires further confirmation through on-site testing.
As directed by Secretary, Power Division in a meeting on July 9, 2022, such feasibility study was shared with PQEPCL for their views and comments. In response, PQEPCL stated that blending of 20% with de-rated capacity of 85% is not a suitable option; however in their calculations, up to 12% blending can achieve 100% load of the plant.
PQEPCL further agreed to on-site testing as suggested by Fichtner starting from 10% blending and final blending ratio shall be adjusted as per the actual test; however, in their view increase in blending with a decrease load is not a reasonable option at this stage due to power shortages in Pakistan.
PQEPCL indicated that Thar coal has high sulphur content that causes erosion of boiler water wall pipe, heating surface, air pre-heater and ID fan which consequently decreases boiler service life. However, it can be avoided with anti-corrosion and other modifications in the system.
Further, blending of Thar coal will increase burden of desulfurization system including but not limited to increase auxiliary power consumption, O&M cost, reduce system service life and such costs shall be paid by GoP. In addition site road, coal storage, coal loading and unloading systems also needs to be upgraded.
PPIB argues that PQEPCL also conducted an in-house feasibility study for such conversion reaching.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022