Developing coal-fired thermal power plants using clean technologies: to be no longer a “challenge”

Developing coal-fired thermal power plants applying clean technology is a crucial part of many nations’ energy policies. Thanks to low-price input materials and high capacity, coal-fired thermal power plants have solved the “problem” of energy security for many countries, particularly developing ones.

In the Adjusted Power Master Plan VII, along with thermal power, renewable energy is prioritized for development by the Vietnamese Government with an increasingly higher proportion in the source structure. For coal-fired thermal power alone, the total capacity up to 2030 is approximately 55,300MW in expectation, accounting for about 53.2% of the total power capacity generated by the whole system (with the consumption of about 129 million ton of coal).

Though there are various opinions but in fact, in order to meet the power growth rate of about 10%/year and ensure the nation’s energy security in the current situation, to develop coal-fired thermal power in Vietnam is necessary. According to experts, “refusing” coal-fired thermal power means Vietnam is about to face power shortages in the coming years as our potential of hydropower is used up and renewable energy requires a too high investment rate while the application possibility is still limited. “The key point is that we seek to invest in coal-fired thermal power plants applying clean and eco-friendly technologies,” Affirmed Mr. Tran Viet Ngai – Chairman of Vietnam Energy Association.

Many of Vietnam’s coal-fired power plants, particularly the ones owned by EVN, have been applying advanced technologies which are at the same level as those in the region and the world as well, properly meeting the environmental requirements. In which, some plants have applied supercritical technology (SC) and technology of carbon emission reduction, typically Power Plants of Vinh Tan 4, Expansion Vinh Tan 4, Expansion Duyen Hai 3, etc. Also, the previously-invested thermal plants are equipped with exhaust treatment systems, upgraded equipment lines in order to reduce impacts on the environment, at the same time promote the performance of the power units.

Many experts state that EVN has implemented the application of advanced technologies to its coal-fired thermal plants. At the Conference on developing coal-fired thermal power with high-efficiency and eco-friendly technologies in August 2018 between Vietnam Electricity and Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL), the latter’s representative highly appreciated the technologies applied by EVN to its coal-fired thermal plants. “However, technologies are developing constantly, from supercritical one to ultra supercritical one in the future, enabling the coal-fired thermal plants to operate more cleanly and properly. According to Dr. Sacha Parneix – Commercial General Director of GE’s Steam Power, Asian nations, including Vietnam, obviously can develop “super clean” coal-fired thermal power.

In the coming years, coal-fired thermal power is still expected to play an important role, ensuring the global energy security. Along with developing renewable energies, coal-fired thermal power development with clean technologies is the common trend of many countries throughout the world, including Vietnam. However, due to some stated problems such as more advanced technologies requiring for higher investment rate, mobilizing capitals is not an easy task, while the public opinion in general is still concerned about and pertain a strong “prejudice” against coal-fired thermal power. Thus, it is necessary to promote propaganda in order to reach public’s consensus, etc. If this “problem” is solved, developing coal-fired thermal power will be no longer a “challenge”.

In 2017

- The global economy consumed about 8 billion ton of coal (1.06 ton/person on average)

- Vietnam consumed 54.6 million ton of coal (0.575 ton/person on average)

Forecast for 2035:

- The consumption of primary energy sources (coal, oil, gas, uranium) of the world: 17.455 billion TOE (Ton of Oil Equivalent)

- Total coal-fired thermal power capacity: 2500GW

(Source: IEA)

EVN has been managing 12 coal-fired thermal plants, in which:

- Dust filtration:

Most of the plants apply electrostatic precipitator technology (ESP) with high efficiency and filtration capacity.

- Flue-gas desulphurization:

Most of the plants apply desulphurization technology using limestone and seawater, assuring SOx emission limit in compliance with requirements by the National Technical Regulation on Emission of thermal power industry.

- NOx treatment:

Most of the plants apply the advanced Low-Nox technology.

- Ash and slag:

The ash and slag from the plants is verified by independent verifying units as normal industrial wastes, not hazardous ones.

  • 19/09/2018 02:14