Old power plants, which are operating at capacity and efficiency much lower than their design parameters, can provide much more economical solution for capacity addition through EER and M, says HS Bedi, Sr. Vice President-Power, Engineering and Energy Services, Energo Engineering Projects Limited, while discussing about ageing power plants in India.
How has R and M project development evolved?
R and M of old power plants started way back in the 1980´s. Initially, R and M was conceived as a part of operation and maintenance (O and M) of plants. Individual equipments were identified to be modified or replaced without considering the remnant life of other plant equipment. This didn´t yield improved efficiency and enhanced life of the plants. The concept was redefined for conducting a systematic remnant life assessment (RLA) study of the entire plant equipment to optimise modification/replacement needed for all components and sub-systems with objectives of increased plant availability and PLF, efficiency, capacity, and life enhancement by 15 to 20 years. Till date, a few R and M projects have been completed and a large number are at various stages of design and execution.
In India, renovated plants are not performing as predicted before taking up R and M. Your comments?
The early experience of R and M was not rewarding as comprehensive R and M was not taken up and a systematic approach comprising of RLA studies and performance evaluation tests was not carried out. This did not contribute much to performance improvement.
Can the renovated plants be completed in scheduled time?
The key factors that affected R and M project schedule were:
However, systematic management of the project right from present performance testing/ energy audit, RLA studies, engineering, manufacturing, supplies, and then the erection and commissioning, if followed judicially, would lead to completion of project in time.
How has the R and M cycle time be reduced?
R and M requires a study of plant O and M and design data, failures history, present performance, and RLA of all equipment. Based on these, the optimum selection of retrofit components and replacement with latest technology equipment is designed for enhancing the remaining life of the plant.
In India, we now have R and M design experience for 110 MW, 120 MW, and 200/210 MW plants. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has prepared targets for R and M of all old units in the next Five Year Plan. Based on this experience and the plan, equipment manufacturers get encouraged to keep ready the major equipment, which normally has long design and manufacturing cycle. This would help the R and M projects executing agencies and equipment suppliers to reduce the R and M cycle.
Is there adequate experience available with engineering consultancy companies to support large R and M programmes in India?
CEA has shortlisted nine companies for EE R and M design consultancy. Energo is one of them.
Energo has been awarded five EE R and M engineering consultancy works, out of which four are funded by the World Bank. Energo is has strong engineering capability supported by 200 highly qualified and experienced engineers. Its Energy Services group undertakes a wide array of services such as energy audit/performance evaluation, performance guarantee test, RLA and LE studies, design consultancy for energy efficient R and M, and advisory services to meet PAT (Perform and Trade) targets of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)..
Besides the above, Energo´s core strength is in design to commissioning of coal handling plant, ash handling plant, and EPC of balance of plant. It is also supported by an in-house manufacturing facility at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)..
What is the best approach to define the scope and the budget of the R and M project and avoid significant surprises as the project is progressing?
Experienced design consultants should be engaged for developing the scope of works and costs for various EER and M options, and further work out techno-economic analysis of all the options for selecting the best option. Suitable allowance for surprises/contingencies should also be kept in the cost estimates. Sensitivity analysis should also be done for possibly not meeting the targets set for PLF, heat rate and project cost and time over-runs.
What budget and schedule should be allocated for an R and M project?
Budget and schedule depends upon the present performance and condition of the plant, and the scope of work identified after carrying out the performance evaluation and RLA studies.
Is non-availability of optimum quality of coal is the compelling reason for undertaking R and M? As a designer how do you tackle this issue?
This is one of the major reasons for R and M as the quality of coal supplied presently to many old power plants is much poorer as compared to their design coal. Lower residual life and poor thermal efficiency, PLF and availability are also other reasons for undertaking R and M. In the eyes of a designer, the up-gradation of the coal mill and retrofitting components to match the required coal quantity and simultaneously the up-gradation of coal handling /ash handling system is workable. The end objective is always to become competitive in the power market.
Coal allocation is always a problem. How is this tackled in R and M projects?
The central government has suggested that maximum priority be given to power sector as electricity is the key to industrial production and thus GDP. In R and M projects, there is an advantage that the coal allocation is done already compared to a new plant. For handling increased amount of coal due to poor coal quality, i.e., lower GCV and higher ash content of present coal supplies, retrofitting of CHPs, AHP, ESP and coal milling systems is necessitated during R and M.
How can R and M help to meet the expectations of the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE)?
Power plants consuming more than 30,000 mtoe are already selected for PAT scheme of BEE. This is a market-based mechanism under NMEEE. The identified plants need to match the targeted specific energy consumption (SEC), i.e., net heat rate for power plants. In EER and M, the key objective is to improve the NHR, and thus increase the power output while firing the same amount of fuel.
About Energo Engineering Projects
Established in 1987, Energo Engineering Projects Ltd is a multi-disciplinary group with diversified interests in power, energy, ports and other process industries. It offers a wide range of EPC services and products, including balance of power plant (BoP) packages, bulk material and ash handling plants, etc.
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