India: High Efficiency Coal Fired Power Plants Cabinet Approves Financial Support to BHEL for R&D Project

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a proposal of an R&D project for development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) Technology for thermal power plants with an estimated cost of Rs1,554 crore and providing one time budgetary support of Rs 900 crore spread over a period of three years, commencing from 2017–18, to be provided as plan Gross Budgetary Support to BHEL for implementation of the R&D project.

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New Delhi – A consortium of three government entities, namely Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research (IGCAR) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) have proposed a R&D project for development of AUSC Technology for thermal power plants of the future, envisaging reduced coal consumption as well as carbon di-oxide (CO2) emissions. The project is formulated with a time cycle of two and a half years, with an estimated cost of Rs 1,554 crore with a contribution of Rs 270 crore from BHEL, Rs 50 crore from NTPC, Rs 234 crore from IGCAR, Rs 100 crore from the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The balance amount of Rs 900 crore will be contributed by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) as grant.

The project will enable Indian industries to design, manufacture and commission higher efficiency coal fired power plants with indigenously developed technology and manufacturing processes. This will be the first time large power plant equipment will be manufactured with advanced technologies, but without any Technological Collaboration/ Licensing Agreement with foreign companies.

The proposed technology is still in the research stage in all the countries working on it. It is still not matured and demonstrated anywhere in the world. The consortium partners are working on the project from the basics of material development, characterization of alloys for high temperature and high pressure applications, basic principles of thermal engineering useful in design from scratch for large equipment such as boiler, valves and steam turbine suitable for the proposed operating parameters which are far elevated from the present day established parameters, as required for higher efficiency in energy conversion.

Power generation from coal contributes to about 38 per cent of CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. About 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emission at source combined with 20 per cent saving in coal consumption compared to a sub-critical plant and by about 11 per cent compared to a supercritical plant are the primary reasons justifying this project. Use of this technology in all future large power plants will ensure energy security for the country for a longer period, along with a greener environment.