Thar coal: facts and fiction
CONTROVERSY has brewed up on the use of Thar coal as a fuel for our power generation needs instead of HFO and natural gas.
Coal has the following basic values for consideration: volatile matter, which is the igniter for the fixed carbon in the coal, the ash content, the sulphur content and, lastly, the water content.
I agree that water within the coal would soon evaporate in the hot season at Thar and turn the coal to powder and dust.
The volatile matter will evaporate as well and reduce the thermal value by at least 10 per cent.
Assuming, the coal reaches the power plant, about two million gallons a day of fresh sweet water will be needed to keep it cool for a seven-day storage of a 300 MWe plant.
The pulverised coal and FCB Technology have combustion temperatures in excess of 1200 C and thus produce NoX & SoX at a level which would be extremely harmful to humans and vegetation, besides much lower combustion efficiencies.
Considering all facts, the only solution is to convert the coal to coal water slurry — a process now perfected by Zheijang University in China and in use in over 100 locations — at the mine and transport the slurry to Sindh’s and Punjab’s existing and new power plants by pipeline, thus saving road from transporting the fuel.
CWS boilers have a combustion efficiency of 99.6 per cent and produce less than 350 mg/m3 of gas volume of NoX, which has to be brought down to less than 100 mg/m3 to make it safe for human population.
The treatment cost for CWS is about 10 per cent as compared to PC and FCB designs and will play a major role in determining the cost of power to the end consumer.
On a fast track basis — in three to five years — Pakistan’s entire power generation of steam-based power plants can be on CWS, saving the nation over $10 billion annually at current oil prices.
A visionary approach can wipe out Pakistan’s entire debt in 10 years. However, if we do not move fast, a $200 a barrel of oil price will bankrupt Pakistan and huge civil unrest will prevail.
The CWS technology has reached a level where a plasma gasifier can convert the coal to high BTU brown gas for use in gas turbines and soon in large stationary engines.
A careful and urgent approach is needed by the government which has made the right decision to use the local coal for our power needs.
Zhiyang University and its partner Ching Tai New Energy Development will be happy to assist the government, people of Pakistan and the sponsors and owners of power plants to use clean coal technology.
MIAN SUHAIL HUSAIN
Director, Ching Tai New Energy