Coal plants considering using Thar coal for power generation

Many coal plants in Pakistan have been set up such that they utilize imported coal for power generation. Port Qasim Electric Power Company (Private) Limited (PQEPC) has recently shown willingness to mix Thar coal to the imported coal in the boilers to use for power generation.

This has been conveyed by Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Guo Guanling, to Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) in response to its proposal “feasibility study for conversion of imported coal to Thar coal”. The recent feasibility study by PQEPC had pointed out that the load rate can be kept at 100% with 10% blending of that coal. And the company plans to adopt this blending ratio.

The main consideration while using Thar coal is the high amount of Sulphur present in the coal. This excessive amount of sulphur results in damage to the equipment.

According to the letter to the PPIB the company claims that the boiler and flue gas system is not designed for high sulfur coal, plus ash handling system does not accommodate the slagging propensities of Thar coal; therefore, high sulfur will erode boiler water wall pipe heating surface, air preheater and flue and induce the fan, which will further decrease boiler service life.

Therefore, the GoP should compensate for that, besides, in order to extend boiler service life, anti-corrosion and other modification is needed. GoP should undertake the modification cost during the scheduled outage and the capacity payment deduction shall be exempted if any forced outage occurs due to boiler heating surface corrosion, and the O&M cost should also be adjusted accordingly.