Singareni Thermal Power Plant
Feb 19, 2023
Singareni Thermal Power Plant
Q. Why is this in News?
A. Singareni Thermal Power Plant (STPP) in Telangana is set to become the first public sector coal-based power generating station in the South and first among the State PSUs in the country to have a flu gas desulphurization (FGD) plant.
- With 100% utilisation of the fly ash generated, the STPP has won the best fly ash utilisation award twice already
Q. What are the Key Facts Related to FGD Plant?
- The FGD plant would process the sulphur and other gases (nitrogen oxides) generated in firing the coal for power generation.
- The FGD plant removes Sulphur Dioxide from the flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere and hence reduces its impact on the environment.
- Types of FGD Systems:
- FGD systems are characterized as either “wet” or “dry” corresponding to the phase in which the flue gas reactions take place. Four types of FGD systems:
- Wet FGD systems use a liquid absorbent.
- Spray Dry Absorbers (SDA) are semi-dry systems in which a small amount of water is mixed with the sorbent.
- Circulating Dry Scrubbers (CDS) are either dry or semi-dry systems.
- Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) injects dry sorbent directly into the furnace or into the ductwork following the furnace.
- Ministry Guidelines:
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has set the deadline for installation of FGD plants for coal-based power plants as December-end of 2026 for non-retiring plants and as December-end of 2027 for retiring plants.
- However, it is not made compulsory for the plants that are going to retire by December-end of 2027, provided they seek exemption from the Central Pollution Control Board and Central Electricity Authority.
- The gypsum generated by the FGD plant would be used in fertiliser, cement, paper, textile and construction industries, and its sales are likely to contribute to the maintenance of the FGD plant.
Q. What is the Status of the Thermal Power Sector in India?
- The thermal power sector has been a major source of electricity generation in India, accounting for around 75% of the country's total installed power capacity.
- As of May 2022, India has a total Thermal installed capacity of 236.1 GW of which 58.6% of the thermal power is obtained from coal and the rest from Lignite, Diesel, and Gas.
- Issues Associated with Thermal Power Plants:
- Environmental Impact: Thermal power plants emit a large amount of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and other pollutants into the air. This leads to air pollution, which has serious health implications for people living in the vicinity of the plants.
- Thermal power plants also consume a lot of water, leading to water scarcity in some areas.
- Coal Supply: India's thermal power plants rely heavily on coal, which is mostly imported from other countries. This can lead to supply disruptions and price volatility.
- In FY22, India’ s coal import of 208.93 million tonne (MT) was worth Rs 2,28,741.8 crore.
- Financial Health: Many of India's thermal power plants are owned by government entities and are facing financial losses due to rising coal prices, low demand, and other factors.
- This has led to many plants being shut down or operating at low capacity.
- Ageing Infrastructure: Many of India's thermal power plants were built in the 1970s and 1980s and are in need of modernization.
- Upgrading these plants to meet current environmental standards can be costly.
- Renewable Energy Competition: As renewable energy becomes cheaper, thermal power plants are facing increased competition.
- This has led to a decrease in demand for thermal power and has made it harder for some plants to operate profitably.
Q. What is the Way Forward?
- Implement Pollution Control Measures: As mentioned earlier, the installation of FGD plants is one of the key steps in controlling air pollution in thermal power plants.
- The government should make it mandatory for all thermal power plants to install FGD plants and other pollution control measures to reduce emissions and protect the environment.
- Improve Coal Quality: The quality of coal used in thermal power plants in India is relatively low, leading to higher emissions and lower efficiency.
- Therefore, the government should focus on improving the quality of coal supplied to thermal power plants by investing in technologies such as coal washing and beneficiation.
- Modernise Existing Plants: Many of India's thermal power plants are old and inefficient. The government should encourage plant owners to modernise their facilities by investing in new technologies, upgrading equipment, and adopting best practices to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
- Increase Efficiency: Improving efficiency is a critical factor in reducing the cost of power generation and improving the competitiveness of the thermal power sector.
- The government should incentivize thermal power plants to adopt energy-efficient practices and technologies such as supercritical and ultra-supercritical technologies.