By Myrna M. Velasco
TAIPEI, Taiwan – With twin benefits of higher efficiency in electricity generation and significant reduction in carbon emissions, the power generation arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) indicated that it is still keen on trailblazing the installation of the first ultra super critical (USC) coal-fired power plant in the Philippines.
In a study tour of the USC boiler-equipped Linkou power plant here which has an aggregate capacity of 2,400 megawatts, Meralco PowerGen Vice President Reynalita Santana indicated that based on their learnings from this power market, it would still be purposeful to “pioneer the utilization of high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technology in the Philippines,” adding that “the HELE technology will also reduce emissions of other pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter.”
A USC boiler in coal-fired power plant is part of the HELE genre, which is into the more advanced technology deployments for thermal power plant developments.
In Taiwan’s experience at the three-unit Linkou power plant at 800MW capacity each, generation efficiency is 7.0 percent higher than older technologies – at a coal consumption that is equivalent to 0.366 kilogram per kilowatt hour (kWh) versus the older technologies’ coal fed of 0.434 kg/kWh – meaning, there’s less coal being burned for every kilowatt-hour of generated electricity.
The USC technology also spews less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – lower by roughly 20-percent to 0.789 kg/kWh versus the conventional coal technologies at a higher base of C02 emissions at 0.975 kg/kWh. On a wider perspective, this could help cushion the impact of global warming dilemma.
In the case of Taiwan’s power sector, most new coal-fired power developments are also shifting technology usage to the more advanced boilers – such as those in the HELE class.
And on the imprimatur of their government, the older boilers in coal-fired generation such as those in the sub-critical category are already being phased out gradually.
In a presentation by Engineer Wen-Chieh Yang, he noted that the Linkou power plant – which is sited very close to its Taoyuan international airport and in the New Taipei City – used to be equipped with a sub-critical boiler technology from the time it was built in 1968, then was decommissioned in 2014 – and had been transformed into an ultra super critical coal plant.
Conversely in the case of the Philippines, even its newer thermal power plants are still in the sub-category boiler technology deployment, as there’s still no government policy requiring power developers to enforce upgrade on technology usage.
At the Linkou power plant, the efficiency of its new unit is at 44.93 low heating value (LHV). “Compared to subcritical boiler, the efficiency increased around 7.0 percent,” Yang said.
In addition, the power facility’s one-through type boiler has high-speed response in load change at a rate of 3.0-percent maximum continuous rating (MCR) per minute or 24 megawatts per minute.