• Shanghai Shenergy innovating in coal plant technology to achieve high efficiencies

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    • Post Author

      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A blog post from Dr Andrew Minchener of the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre has looked at the innovation in coal-fired power plant efficiency being achieved by Shanghai Shenergy Power Technology Co Ltd. At China Resources Power’s single-reheat ultra-supercritical Caofeidian plant, which consists of two 1000 MWe units, a design efficiency of 46.7% was reached, and over the past year an average operating efficiency of around 45% was demonstrated. Caofeidian had a capital cost of 85% of typical double-reheat plant, making it highly economical. Another project of the Shanghai Shenergy team has been a retrofit of a 320 MWe subcritical unit of the Xuzhou coal power plant (also owned by China Resources Power), which began operation in 2004. The maximum temperature of the main and hot reheat steams were increased from 538oC each to 600oC each, while keeping the steam pressure unchanged, and through this and other improvements, the operational efficiency was raised from 38.63% to 43.56%. In addition, the retrofit enabled the plant to run stably at only a 19% load, giving enhanced operational flexibility that will allow better integration on a grid level with intermittent renewable power installations. As Dr Minchener notes, if such improvements were applied across much of the sub-critical Chinese fleet (which accounts for around a third of coal-fired power plants in the country), much of which was built in the 2000s, a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved, though, on the other hand, it would also lock in substantial emissions, at least until carbon capture was retrofitted.