Friday, December 26, 2008

Ultra-mega thermal plants & the Ultra-Mega fly-ash menace

The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Science Tribune
Ultra-mega thermal plants; Mega flyash problems

Dr G.S. Dhillon

A recent report datelined Bathinda, filed by TNS correspondent S.P. Sharma appeared in The Tribune dated October 31 describing the situation at Bathinda City: “It flyash all the way in Bathinda” along with a photograph of a scooterist virtually sailing through a cloud of flyash.

This has made many of us ponder what would be the state of affairs once the two proposed “ultra-mega thermal plants” of Talwandi Sabo and Gidderbaha start operating.
Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda: Flyash is everywhere.
Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda: Flyash is everywhere. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

An attempt has been made in this article to consider the problem.

At the present stage, the thermal plants installed in Punjab have the capacity of 2120 MW, with 1260 MW Super Plant at Ropar, 440 MW Plant at Bathinda and 420 MW at Lehra Mohabat.

The annual production of solid waste in the form of flyash (containing 20 per cent furnace bottom ash) from all the above listed TPs is around 20 lakh tons.

The new thermal plants planned would add an additional generation capacity of 6480MW:

l 1980 MW from the Talwandi Sabo Ultra-Mega Thermal Plant.

l 2640 MW from the Gidderbaha Ultra-Mega Thermal Plant,

l 1320 MW from the Rajpura Mega Thermal Plant

l 540 MW from the Goindwal Thermal Plant.

At that stage, the total thermal power generation capacity would be 8600 MW and the annual flyash production requiring proper handling would be above 80 lakh tonnes.

The regulations issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), Government of India, require that “all the thermal plants will have to ensure 100 per cent utilisation of the solid waste (flyash plus furnace bottom ash) within the prescribed period, which is nine years after their commissioning in the case of new TPs to be set up. In the case of the older existing plants, the time limit to achieve the 100 per cent utilisation target is “by the year 2015” i.e. within the next seven years.

Flyash is fine powdery material and its particles are spherical in shape and of glassy nature. The flyash contains a reactive material which reacts with “lime” in the presence of water, to form calcium silicate hydrate, which acts as a binding material.

This property of flyash is utilised for part replacement of cement in the case of cement concrete using OPC (Ordinary Portland Cement). Also PPC (Portland Puzzolana Cement) is obtained by mixing flyash with burnt clinker before grinding. The proportion of flyash, conforming to IS: 3812 (Part I-1) may vary between 15 per cent to 35 per cent.

l Flyash can be used to form a “flowable fill” which pours freely and get set quickly and provide strength equal to that of “compacted soil”. So flyash in this form can be used to fill up trenches, cuts, abandoned mine etc.

l Flyash can be used for building embankments for road construction.

l Flyash can be used as “filler” in the manufacture of plastic components replacing “plastic resin”.

Roller compacted concrete using flyash has been found to possess many merits and used in many situations. In case of the Ghatgar pumped storage scheme, the roller compacted concrete using flyash was used for construction of the Saddle Dam and the Upper Dam.

Flyash has been beneficially used for “soil conditioning” of agricultural soils in Maharashtra and flyash has also been used to provide “fertiliser capability”. For this purpose it should be used in the “wet” form

For burnt clay bricks, a 25 per cent replacement of soil with flyash is now a must for brickkilns located within 100 km. radius of TPs as per orders from the MOEF.

Building blocks using upto 88 per cent of flyash: furnace bottom ash (in equal proportion) and 12 per cent lime have been produced by PMET, who has obtained a patent for the same. The blocks are “cured” in an auto-clave for six hours at steam pressure of 200 psi and 370 degree F temperature. The product thus obtained is called “BRIXX”.

In case of the Ropar super thermal plant, the ash ponds were found to pollute groundwater and objections were raised the Punjab Pollution control Board and the PSEB was asked to take necessary steps’ to check this menace.

Also, the air pollution has been found to be acute around the Ropar thermal plant area and so it has been decided to raise the chimney height by 200 ft to correct the situation by dispersing the pollutants over a wider area so as to minimise their intensity.

Farmers in the areas surrounding the Ropar TP have complained of reduction in crop yields on account of ground water as well as atmospheric pollutants. This aspect needs to be studied by agencies like the PAU.

This scenario is true for all thermal plants, though the intensity of the problem could vary. For the new Ultra-Mega Thermal Plants coming up, one can only hope that all the necessary environmental clearances are obtained and implemented in letter and spirit to avoid an environmental catastrophe.

While Punjab enters the “Ultra-Mega Thermal” era to tackle its rising power needs, we should also plan ahead for disposal and utilisation of the mega-quantities of the solid wastes that would be obtained (flyash & FBA), so that environmental degradation is not obtained in the area of influence around these Ultra-Mega Thermal Plants.

Progress and growth at the cost of the environment is not an acceptable trade-off. Keeping in mind that the binding 100 per cent flyash usage regulations are still 7-9 years away from implementation, we hope that we can avoid the Bathinda scooterist’s plight being repeated in other cities and villages of Punjab — the green state.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mauda Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) - Nagpur, in the making

BHEL bags Rs 2,100 cr power plant order from NTPC
BHEL bags Rs 2,100 cr power plant order from NTPC
BS Reporter / Mumbai December 24, 2008, 13:40 IST

Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has bagged two orders for the supply and installation of the main plant equipment for Mauda Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) in Maharashtra in an international competitive bidding. Cumulatively valued at around Rs 2,100 cr, the contracts have been placed on BHEL by NTPC for setting up the 1000 mega watt steam generator and steam turbine generator packages at Mauda STPP, located in Nagpur. These units will add 24 mn units every day to the grid on commissioning.

"The orders were won by BHEL under international bidding, as its offers were found techno-economically the best. With these orders, NTPC has once again reposed confidence in BHEL's proven technological excellence and capability in executing projects of this magnitude," said the company in a statement.

BHEL’s scope of work in the contracts involves design, engineering, manufacture, supply and erection and commissioning of Steam Generators and Turbine Generators along with Associated Auxiliaries, Electrostatic Precipitators and state-of-the-art Controls and Instrumentation. The key equipment for the contracts will be manufactured at BHEL’s Haridwar, Trichy, Ranipet, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bhopal and Jhansi Plants. The company’s Power Sector – Western Region will undertake erection and commissioning of the equipment.

BHEL manufactured sets are already operating at NTPC’s other projects in Singrauli, Korba, Ramagundam, Farakka, Vindhyachal, Simahadri, Rihand, Sipat, Kahalgaon, Talcher and Unchahar, said the company.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mercury is now traceable

Mercury is now traceable | Science & Technology | Down To Earth magazine
Mercury is now traceable
Arnab Pratim Dutta

The heavy metal can be fingerprinted to find its source

THE global emission of mercury—a heavy metal notorious for its toxicity—is on the rise. Although the metal occurs naturally in stable form, some 2000 tonnes of it is released annually into the atmosphere from coal-based power plants, incinerators and chloro-alkali plants. Various options such as a global mercury convention, inclusion in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and voluntary partnerships, are being discussed to phase it out, but for that the source of the pollution needs to be pinpointed first. Researchers from the department of Geological Sciences and Air Quality Laboratory at the University of Michigan have developed a fingerprint technique to find out how much mercury is released by different sources...................
Read Full Story Here

Friday, December 19, 2008

GMR plans to buy coal mine in Indonesia

GMR bullish on power; plans to buy coal mine in Indonesia-The Economic Times
Printed from The Economic Times

GMR bullish on power; plans to buy coal mine in Indonesia
19 Dec 2008, 1318 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: GMR Group plans to buy 100-150 million tonne capacity coal mine in Indonesia to feed 1,500 megawatt power generation capacity for
20 years.

The deal is likely to strike within three months. "The company has plans to set up a 1,000 to 1,500 megawatt coal fired thermal power plant on the western coast. The company has already done the land survey in Maharashtra and Gujarat," GMR Group Chief Financial Officer Subba Rao Amarthaluru told reporters here on Friday.

Divulging details about the company's foray into power sector, he said, "The company would increase its domestic power generation capacity from 800 megawatt to 3,000 megawatt by 2013."

He also said that the company's 1,050 megawatt coal fired power plant in Orissa would be operational by March 2010.

When asked about the future investment plans, he remained tight-lipped and said that amidst the global financial crisis, power sector is a potential sector where there is a scope of investment and higher returns considering the EPC cost coming down to around Rs four crore per megawatt from the earlier Rs five crore to Rs six crore.

He added, "Power is an essential commodity, you cannot postpone the demand. Considering the huge demand of power in our country, this sector will yield higher returns in short term".

On the air passenger traffic, he said it is down one per cent in Delhi and five to six per cent in Hyderabad and this will further come down.

Copyright © 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Environmental Clearance for 168 Power project s in 3 years

PIB Press Release

Press Information Bureau, Government of India

Friday, December 05, 2008
Ministry of Environment and Forests

14:33 IST

A total of 168 power project have been accorded environmental clearance during the last three years. This includes 128 thermal power project, 39 hydroelectric projects and 1 nuclear power project. The State-wise break-up of these projects and their capacity is given in Annexure.Provision has been made in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification. 2006 to set up State/UT Level Environment impact Assessment Authority for appraisal of the specified category of projects.

EIA Notification, 2006 provide for appraisal of the impact that a project will have on the environment. This is done through EIA reports submitted by the project proponents and assessed by the multi-disciplinary Expert Appraisal Committees constituted by the Ministry Environment & forests for the purpose.............

(Total 82,605.50MW of TPP, 11083 MW of Hydro and 1400MW of Nuclear. ie 95088 MW in total)

German expertise for thermal plants upgrade

SteelGuru - News
News Wednesday, 17 Dec, 2008
German expertise for thermal plants upgrade

BL reported that thermal power plants in India are set for an upgrade and efficiency improvement as part of an Indo German Energy program that would bring in German expertise.

According to Dr JT Verghese MD of Evonik Energy Services (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Evonik Industries of Germany, which is implementing the program, Evonik has carried out baseline studies of over 85 thermal power plants in India.

Addressing a press conference after the inaugural of a one day workshop at the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, he said that Evonik has studied four thermal power plants which were more than 25 years old in Tamil Nadu. The next step would be identify the areas for upgrading equipment and training personnel. The study indicates that through selective investments, significant improvements could be achieved.

While the improvement could not be expressed immediately in specific terms, he said that the benefits would be apparent. Thermal power plants need to continuously focus on efficiency not just for cost reduction and increasing power availability but also to control pollution. He added that a 1% improvement in efficiency would mean a saving of over 11 million tonne of coal in India

The benchmark study of the 85 plants was to trigger awareness and the potential that could be achieved. The company was in discussions with the electricity boards in West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh.

As per report, Evonik has extensive expertise in the area and operates over 11,000 MW of the total capacity of thermal plants spread across a number of countries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CM urged to look into Dabhol power plant

CM urged to look into Dabhol power plant -Pune-Cities-The Times of India
Printed from Times of India

CM urged to look into Dabhol power plant
16 Dec 2008, 0229 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: City-based Sajag Nagrik Manch on Monday urged chief minister Ashok Chavan to urgently look into the problems plaguing the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL/Dabhol) to ensure that the plant starts generating more power before the onset of summer.

In a letter sent to Chavan, Vivek Velankar, founder SNM, said that Maharashtra was going through a serious power shortage, resulting in unbearable load-shedding throughout the state. "Every megawatt of power is very important and from that angle, RGPPL or Dabhol power plant, needs your urgent attention," he wrote.

As per the information available in the daily system report on the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd's (MSEDCL) website, Dabhol has been generating 320 MW power per day as against its installed capacity of 2100 MW.

Velankar stated that Dabhol plant has three blocks, each with installed capacity of 700 MW. Each block has three turbines two gas turbines and one steam turbine. "As per information available with SNM, in block 1, gas turbine 1 A is not working and has been under repair for the last two years. Recently all the required parts have reached Dabhol. It needs to get started as quickly as possible," the letter said.

Gas turbine 1B is working and generating 200 MW power. The steam turbine is based on both gas turbines and as one of the gas turbines is not working, the steam turbine's output is at 100 MW, Velankar stated.

He said that in Block 2, gas turbine 2A was not working and has been under repair for the last six months. It may not be in working condition for a couple of more months. Gas turbine 2B has been under maintenance for the last 15 days and was supposed to be back in operation by the end of this month, according to a statement released by MSEDCL just before the maintenance work started.

"The steam turbine is based on both gas turbines and as both the gas turbines are not in working condition today the output of the steam turbine is nil. If gas turbine 2B is back in operation by end of this month, then the steam turbine's output will be 100 MW," the letter said.

"In block 3 both the gas turbines 3A and 3B have been out of order since last 15 days", Velankar pointed out adding that as steam turbine was based on both gas turbines the out put of steam turbine was nil.

He further stated that currently only one gas and one steam turbine in block 1 was in working condition producing 300 MW power. "Considering the installed capacity of 2100 MW ; this is serious . Hence we request you to kindly take up the matter strongly with National thermal power corporation (NTPC) and the union energy ministry for immediate action on their side so that at least by end of this month Gas turbine 1A and 2 B are functional and from 2009 we can start getting another 600 MW power", the letter said.

The letter said that the problems in block 3, where both gas turbines were down; repairs and ordering of required parts needed to be done on a war footing with sustained follow-up so that another 600 MW becomes available from April 2009.

Friday, December 5, 2008

168 power projects get environmental clearance

168 power projects get environmental clearance in last 3 Yrs
168 power projects get environmental clearance in last 3 Yrs
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If statistics is anything to go by then Indian power sector is growing at an electrifying pace with a total of 168 power projects getting environmental clearance during the last three years.

EIA Notification, 2006 provide for appraisal of the impact that a project will have on the environment. This is done through EIA reports submitted by the project proponents and assessed by the multi-disciplinary Expert Appraisal Committees constituted by the Ministry Environment & forests for the purpose.

Gujarat received the largest number of environmental clearance for 21 projects with a total capacity of 12,245 mw of power, while Rajasthan ranked second with 15 projects cleared having total capacity of 3,270 mw.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Manch seeks info on load-shedding protocol

Manch seeks info on load-shedding protocol-Pune-Cities-The Times of India
Manch seeks info on load-shedding protocol
3 Dec 2008, 0012 hrs IST, TNN
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PUNE: The city-based Sajag Nagrik Manch (SNM) on Tuesday demanded that the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) should
suo motu declare the facts and figures that prompted it to select a load-shedding protocol suitable for power shortfall of 4,600 MW to 5,000 MW. The information is being sought under section four of the Right to Information Act.

The power utility on Monday announced the new load-shedding protocol after the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Merc) rejected the petition seeking increase in load-shedding hours on Friday.

In a letter to MSEDCL managing director Ajay Bhushan Pandey and chief engineer of power purchase, Manch founder Vivek Velankar said that the current protocol circular 23 issued by the MSEDCL was based on scenario five in Merc's order wherein demand supply gap is between 4600-5000 MW.

"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that since the last 15 days the demand supply gap crossed the 4,200-MW figure just two days for a couple of hours and has never crossed the figure of 4,600 MW . This has happened in spite of two generation sets at Dabhol not working and reduction in the Mahagenco thermal power generation due to shortage of coal," Velankar stated.

He said that in this background, the load-shedding protocol should have been ideally based on scenario three (suited for shortfall of 3,700 MW to 4,200 MW) if not at least safely on scenario four ( shortfall of 4,200 MW to 4,600 MW). "Considering the fact that there is an industrial slowdown, the demand is not likely to go up in the near future and, as it is winter the use of air-conditioners and fans will definitely go down the demand is not likely to go up," he added.

Velankar pointed out that the improvement in coal supply and resumption of Dabhol generation sets can improve supply in the next couple of weeks. "This means that in the next two months, at least, the demand supply gap is not likely to cross 4,600 MW. In spite of all this you have taken a decision to base load-shedding protocol on scenario five ( 4,600-5,000 MW shortfall )," he said in the letter.

He pointed out that as per Right to information Act 2005 section 4 (1) (C) & (D), the MSEDCL needs to publish suo motu (within 24 hours of the decision ) all the facts and reasons behind the decision to consider scenario five for the load-shedding protocol. He has urged the MSEDCL to publish this information on its website immediately.