Vijaywada,11 May:BHEL and APGENCO have signed an agreement to set up a 125 Mw power plant at Vijaywada using IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) technology that BHEL has been working on for the past two decades. A 6 Mw pilot plant has been running at BHEL, Tiruchi since 1983 and this is now being upscaled to commercial size. IGCC produces significantly less greenhouse gases, has operating efficiency of around 40%, reduces water consumption by about 40% and also has lower solid waste production. IGCC also offers a technical pathway for cost-effective separation of carbon dioxide and co-production of hydrogen.
The agreement was signed on the 10th of May,2008 in Vishakapatnam in the presence of the Union Finance Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram, the Union Minister for Heavy Industry, Shri Santosh Mohan Dev and the Minister of State for Power and Commerce, Shri Jairam Ramesh.Complimenting BHEL and APGENCO for what he termed a “ truly historic initiative”, Shri Jairam Ramesh said that this project has major implications for India’s energy strategy that has to reckon seriously with international concerns on global warming arising out of expanding coal use. There are seven or eight IGCC plants in the 250-300 Mw range in other countries like the USA but they all use low ash coal, Shri Jairam Ramesh said. The Vijaywada plant will use high ash Indian coals. It will cost around Rs 950 crores, of which roughly Rs 420 crores will come from BHEL and the balance Rs 530 crores from APGENCO. The project is scheduled for commissioning in mid-2011.
APGENCO is the country’s third largest thermal power utility, after NTPC and MAHGENCO. It is putting up the country’s first twin supercritical 800 Mw units at Krishnapattnam in Nellore district, for which the bids have been received and are in the final stages of evaluation. At Vijaywada, APGENCO has 6×210 Mw units and another 500 Mw unit is scheduled for commissioning in October/November, 2008. It was at Vijaywada thermal power plant complex that BHEL’s 210 Mw units were first proven a technological success over quarter of a century ago.
Gas turbine, heat recovery boiler, steam turbine, coal gasifier and gas clean-up system are the five main blocks of IGCC. India had done considerable work in coal gasification in the 1970s, Shri Jairam Ramesh recalled and pointed out that under Smt. Indira Gandhi’s leadership, two coal-based fertiliser plants had been set up at Korba and Ramagundam over three decades ago. Unfortunately, India did not sustain its research and engineering efforts in this area except in a small way at BHEL, Shri Jairam Ramesh bemoaned. He said that the APGENCO-BHEL initiative in Vijaywada should have been launched two decades ago and by now India would have been a world leader in this technology. He emphasised that the Vijaywada IGCC project is extremely significant in the context of current global discussions on climate change. Coming in the wake of NTPC’s decision to set up a “NTPC Climate Change Research Fund” out of 0.5% of its annual net profits to support research and engineering efforts in clean coal technology, Shri Jairam Ramesh said that the IGCC project demonstrates India’ s serious commitment to expanding its coal use in an ecologically sustainable manner. There is no alternative for India but to substantially increase consumption of coal, which is our predominant non-renewable energy resource, he added.