Tuesday, June 28, 2016

PowerGen Europe 2016 in Milan



Dear Readers,
On 21-22-23 June 2016, I participated to PowerGen Europe Conference and Exhibition in Milan (Italy). I came with my wife to Milan before Conference. We found a comfortable small apartment at reasonable price for one week close to the exhibition. We visited Milan city museums, parks, shopping venues, Duomo, Churches, Opera, on the weekend together on foot,
I met with numerous domestic (Italian) and foreign energy professionals during the conference. I exchanged information. I listened to speeches and watched presentations, demonstrations. There were many business professionals from Turkey. However there were also cocktails to join, free drinks everywhere, lots of face to face communication to exchange off-the record information, gossip etc. There were people who came not only for fair but also for travel leisure for holiday shopping in Milan, world center of fashion. Majority of technical people in the company booths were not sales people, hence they did not know sales psychology. A technically trained people can not be a sales people overnight. Most of them did not know how to respond questions, how to talk. They were entering extra long presentations, boring conversations, giving unnecessary informations, lots of details. Some of them were not interested in any conversation, as if in the mood just waiting to leave and go to shopping. There were people who were interested in collecting free promotional stuff only, pens, book, catalogues, shirts whatever available. There were all types of people with no culture in good manners, holding seats at resting places, responding in rude and bad manners. Most of them did not know any foreign languages, asking lady translators to help them. Unfortunately most of those ladies were not able to translate the details of the technical jargon. Most sales people were not trained upfront what they were supposed to sell, they were unable to answer simple questions, they had catalogues filled with nonsense outdated empty information.
Among senior professionals, we exchanged plenty of first hand market rumors in face to face interviews. Just a few words or sentences were enough to relay some critical information. We understand that outdated technology was finished, prices were remained too expensive. Nowadays old, big, too cumbersome firms are about to leave the energy markets. I'm familiar with old professionals. Some of them were separated from the company, retired.
They were looking for new opportunities to get hired elsewhere. However they were illiterate in new software and information environment.
Far East company officials were quite eager to push the market. However they were speaking with their weird native accent, and could not communicate properly. In order to overcome that difficulty they hired mother tongue English speaking sales people however these people were unaware of the technology they were in for sales. On the other hand, Germans, French, Spaniards, were not comfortable talking other than their native language.
Exhibition area covers two large halls. Visitors, and exhibitors were from various countries. I met with many professional friends from my home country, I visited their booths to talk, to exchange news, gossips, to feel the market. I sensed that our engineering companies were in financial difficulties. In most of them, ownership is changed during project execution, they could not pay money they borrowed and they had to sell the majority stake to the company they owed. Serious ones were struggling for survival. We have available human capital, intellectual accomplishments, and there are international financial groups who were waiting to buy these blue chip engineering establishments. I could not see or meet with any serious investor from my home country. Similarly I could not come across with any ministry of public official in the conference. There were all vendors, but unfortunately there were a few investors or purchasers. On the other hand our contractors were quite good in overseas business to build new industrial or power installations.
Major foreign equipment supplier companies have sensed the market tendencies earlier that we were. One of them said to me, "We are dealing with the same technological garbage, over and over again". They are fearing the ultra low cost similar equipment as produced by Far east companies with or without western license. Western companies are quite comfortable behind their custom walls, but they are trapped there. Their home markets are saturated. They can not supply overseas. They can not sell in international markets.
In this year's exhibition, I was very pleased to witness the growing number of companies from my home country. There were equipment manufacturers, contractors as well as engineering companies. Our big companies have now started to show interest in holding a booth in Powergen exhibition halls, encouraging their staff to make technical presentation, and they have proliferated in the exhibition toured. We all know that our country has a huge investment potential in the energy market.
In the past I used to have free Internet-cafe-like place. However now wireless internet usage was available for a fee. Everyone already has iPhone. WiFi is available standard in hotels.
The biggest US energy traders, the GT-ST (OEM) builders, manufacturers of high capacity boiler companies are still interested in our market. But now their prices remain very expensive. Similar equipment are available at a much more reasonable prices in the international market. As long as you can make the basic design by running a professional software, the rest is easy. US prices are quite high which makes them uncompetitive and difficult to make business overseas.
Foreign investors asked me the economy and the investment environment of my home country. What can I say? Investors expects to have free fair and transparent competition, freedom of expression, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, all these issues are needing for a investment environment. They do not come in their absence. In general I sensed their reluctance and indifference to our environment. I observed their cautious attitude and lost of investment appetite against Turkey.
In the long term, if we see that a very different perception of future investment expectations in our geography, do not be surprised.
Next year (2017) PowerGen Europe conference and exhibition will be held in Germany in Cologne 20-21-22 of June. I highly recommend you to join if you are working in the energy sector.
There are many international companies on the energy market, investors, financiers to cooperate. You can find the senior executives of international companies, you can talk to them, nowhere else so easy.
In years 2018-19-20, I have been told that PowerGen management is seriously considering to organize the same conference in Istanbul. In order to take that decision, they have to observe and be convinced that we have an attractive investment environment, free from regional wars, we must create the proper infrastructure of market mechanisms in Western standard requirements.


Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.
http://www.turkishweekly.net/

Ankara, 30 June 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Appropriate Boiler Technology for Local Coal in Turkey



Contrary to popular belief, in Turkey we have reliable low-calorific-value domestic coal firing thermal power plants that have proven themselves over the years in their long-term operations. We have them, so let's name them:

Soma-B #5-6, Seyitömer #4, Kangal #3, Afşin-B.

Operating for the last 20-30 years, all of these plants are very reliable in firing domestic low-quality coal. Up until now they have solved any problems that have arisen in their burning of low-calorific-value domestic coal. They may have some other shortcomings, and these should also be solved in time.

If they have difficulty in soot blowing, they should acquire more soot blowers.
If their dust filters don’t meet emission standards, they should build bigger dust filters.
If they don’t have flue gas desulphurization (FGD) technologies, they should get them.
If their NOx emissions do not meet required national standards, they should add Low-NOx burners, and if this is still not enough, then they should install a selective catalytic reactor (SCR).

Investors who have invested in new domestic coal firing thermal power plants have not disclosed the results of their investments so far. There are neither success stories nor announcements of high efficiency; there is no information on the progress of these projects. Leaked news is not so encouraging however. Once a big thermal power plant project is completed, the project results are shared by everyone. This is an acceptable exercise in public relations, an acceptable way to advertise to the market.

We read the reports, academic papers, listen to conference presentations, and we congratulate our peers and share their experiences. Over the past 10 years, new investments have primarily focused on on circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology, but nothing has been disclosed about these investments to the public.

On the other hand, there are lots of presentations, commercial and academic papers, articles, and news reports on CFB technology itself, and all of this is available for public access.

Yet there is a piercing silence on this technology’s application in Turkey when it comes to the investments in indigenous coal firing power plants. Until now, nobody has explained anything. Billions of US dollars have been invested in these plants. Yet there is no technical evaluation, no information, nothing. After evaluating the secrecy with which this situation is being handled, my humble comments are as follows.

It is clear that our low-calorific-value local coal with 50-55% moisture (water content) is almost impossible to fire without pre-heating and dehumidification. It can’t be fired properly without installing dewatering systems. Excessive amounts of supplementary oil-fueled firing is necessary to fire the coal if delivered to boiler combustion chambers as is.

In this sense, companies from the Far East offered their off-the-shelf CFB designs to our local investors as a panacea, backed up by cheap prices and cheap financing by their Exim banks funds.

They impressed our local investors with their ultra cheap prices. However, their   CFB technology is not capable of firing our high-moisture, low-heating-value local coal. So in the end, top management decision-makers at local investor companies are aware of this situation, and because they made these incorrect decisions, they don’t want to make a sound until they retire.

Your writer believes that the appropriate technology to fire our domestic coal can be found in the 4x350 MWE producing Afşin-B plant, which employs “indirect pre-heating pulverized coal firing” coal combustion technology. The German Company that designed this technology went bankrupt due to various financial reasons at home. The company withdrew from the market and is not active anymore. But the designers and engineers of this technology are still working in the commercial environment.

This company’s subcontractors, Turkish companies, upgraded their standing and became leading engineering companies serving worldwide in the construction of new thermal power plants. There are also other reputable local companies with similar references.

Our experienced engineering contractor companies can recreate the original designs very easily in time if the opportunity would be given to the private entrepreneurship. Those companies can also employ the original designers in their local design offices as expatriate consultants if need be. In this way, we could ask our engineering companies for their quotes for 150-350 MWE thermal power plants. I believe that they have such a capability to deliver in time.

Our local engineering companies have a sufficient number of references, ample work experience, and strong competencies. Therefore we should employ domestic engineering, fabrication, construction, contracting, as well as domestic labor. We all know that there are hundreds of thousands of engineers working in international contracting companies. We can bring together the same number of local engineers. Foreign companies employ people like us, there is no difference.

After an overseas construction job is completed, the international contractor normally fulfills the contractual requirements, operates the plant during the commissioning phase and temporary acceptance period, receives the final acceptance, and then leaves the plant. After that the operator is left alone to run the plant and to deal with all the problems that arise in time.

If the contractor is in the home country, then they are responsible for operating the thermal power plant during its entire operation, maybe for 20-30 years. Contractors have to solve every problem and satisfy the client at all times in cases when accidents or troubles arise. If they do not, then the client not only stops working with that company, but expresses to all others in the market their displeasure. This results in a veritable death sentence for the contracting company.

Continuous work with your client keeps you alive, fit, and helps you to improve your design and technology; and perhaps most importantly it makes you more competitive in the global market.

---

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo, 17 April 2016

Monday, May 02, 2016

Thermoflow thermal power plants design software on-site training in Ankara



We are pleased to announce that we have completed 3-day on-site training at Bilkent Hotel conference center for a local engineer/ contractor company on 29-30 April 1 May 2016. Thermal Power plant design software training participants were operation/ proposal/ maintenance engineers/ managers with power plant operation experience, highly capable, very interested, and eager to learn to operate Thermoflow thermal power plant design software. They were capable/ talented/ skillful in learning Thermoflow's Gtpro, Thermoflex and Peace software products. They expressed their appreciation of Thermoflow software capabilities; they had fast access to use capabilities of the programs, and made further comments, asked questions and even criticized in time after familiarization. 
For more information, please go to,

http://thermoflow.com/training_standard_schedule.html

Thursday, April 07, 2016

#PanamaPapers in Turkey


"Panama Connection"

Let me tell you a story you from the distant past. It was years and years ago. As a major contracting company, they were unable to get any orders from big public sector organizations. No matter how much they bid and bid, and fulfilled all the necessary requirements, in the end they never got any positive results.

One day a gentleman came to their office. He said, “Make a consulting agreement with me and let me provide you with full information on the tender”. They signed an agreement with his company in Panama and sent a lump sum of money to their offshore account for consulting services.

After this, a new tender was opened, everything was kept extremely secret. All interested parties were required to submit their proposal dossiers in sealed envelopes. They all handed in their documents 5 minutes before the closing time of the tender.

After their proposal documents were submitted, they were requested to leave the offices immediately in order to avoid any undesired flow of verbal information. Client locked their doors behind us. Everything was arranged behind closed doors. Participants were later asked to declare a second, lower bid price. Blind price quoting without any inside information on competitors has no meaning. However, on that evening, their consultant sent a fax to Company's Ankara office containing all the information on their rivals’ prices.

If there is an information leak within a public institution, it most likely originates from the top, as the lower cadres wouldn’t dare to engage in such an activity. Such occurs not only in our geography, but all over the world.

As a young engineer who recently graduated from university, I thought that this must be “the way things work”.  Since then, time has passed, all of those top decision makers have retired, and the public company at hand was privatized, sold and eventually disappeared from the market. Over all of these years, these archaic procedures have continued and improved.

Today we see new procedures. Your applications for tenders will not be answered unless you are close to the top political administrators, so you should look for new opportunities in Russia’s remote regions or in the Middle East. Considering this, how can we continue to run businesses in such a fragile economy? Can we bear the burden of ever increasing costs? The system has been closed and locked, and hence the economy and investment climate are also inaccessible. Even the works of the privileged few have faced this reality.

***

I’ve had a difficult time understanding why we have shrouded natural gas prices in secrecy for so many years. I have also always envied the high investment placed in education by our northern neighbor Russia, their skilled mathematicians, their excellent market strategists. Our human capital has difficulty in matching theirs when it comes to trade negotiations in particular. Moreover, this is augmented by the fact that we should drastically and urgently reduce our dependence on their fuel supply. They will surely exploit our disadvantageous situation as long as this dependence continues.

If a trade agreement is kept behind closed doors, there is always some aspect thereof that goes against the people’s common benefit, there is always some aspect that favors top decision makers. The details of the Turkish Stream and Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) negotiations are still unclear. What shall we receive in return for what we concede? What will be the extent of this, our northern neighbor’s Christmas gift?

We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin has an Ph.D. degree in energy economics. There are rumors that ghost writers brought together the wording of his academic dissertation. Anyhow, that is his thesis. Nonetheless, he completely assimilated the content of academic discipline with his office. Compared to his preparations, our decision makers fumble when it comes to academic and practical learning.

At the end of WWII, regardless of the huge human losses they paid on the eastern front, our northern neighbor crushed the last resistance of the Nazi German Army in May 1945. They then turned to the Far East and crushed the Japanese Army in Manchuria in August 1945.

Similarly, the country has now entered with its full weight into the Syrian theater in the most recent phase of the conflict. They have come to Syria for a long, if not permanent stay. Syria is now commencing a long-term accession to Russian territory as had also been the case for Eastern Europe and Manchuria.

We do not have weapons that can counter Russia’s SU-34 fighter planes or its T-90 war tanks. We should have designed and manufacture these weapons much earlier. There’s nothing more we can do right now other than trying to remain peaceful and independent.


***
"Après moi le deluge", Madame de Pompadour

I continue to be optimistic for our markets. We do not have the luxury to say, “après moi le deluge” (after me, the deluge). I would say that when the appropriate time comes, then we shall be able to prioritize market transparency, accountability, independent monitoring, rule of law, separation of powers, freedom of expression, and independent free media, and it is at that time when we can engage in better practices of parliamentary democracy, the results of which will allow for a better future.

As long as we have the freedom to choose in free elections, we should believe in and trust the common sense and common wisdom of the voters of this nation.

Haluk Direskeneli is a graduate of METU’s Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He has worked in public and private enterprises, in American, Turkish, and JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, in marketing, and in sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant and energy analyst with thermal power plants as well as using his basic and detailed design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of the METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo, Istanbul, 08 April 2016


Friday, March 25, 2016

Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) or Pulverized Coal Firing (PCF) Dilemma


for Appropriate Local Boiler Technology

Do we have reliable low calorific value domestic coal firing thermal power plants, proven itself with long term in operation? Yes we have, let's name them
Soma-B # 5-6, Seyitömer # 4, Kangal #3, Afşin-B.

These power plants have proved themselves in operation for last 20-30 years. All these plant are very reliable in domestic low quality coal firing. They solved their problems of low calorific value domestic coal burning. They may have some other shortcomings which should also be solved in time.
They may have difficulty in soot blowing, so you must add up more number of soot blowers.
Their dust filters may not meet emission standards, so you should build bigger dust filters.
If there is no FGD (flue gas desulphurisation), so you must add a new one.
If NOx emissions do not meet required national standards, so you add Low-NOx burners, if still not enough, then you install SCR ( Selective Catalytic Reactor).

Those investors who invested on domestic coal firing thermal power plants, do not disclose the results of their investments so far. There are no success stories, no high efficiency, no high availability information told. Leaked news are not so encouraging. One a big thermal power plant project is completed, the project results are shared by everyone. This is an acceptable public relations activity, an acceptable advertising in the market. We read the reports, academic papers, listen to conference presentations, we congratulate our peers and share their experiences. Over the past 10-years, the new investments are carried out mainly on CFB technology, but there is nothing disclosed in those investments, nothing shared with public.

On the other hand there are lots of presentations, commercial and academic papers, articles, news reports everywhere all available for public access.
There is a deep silence on these on indigenous coal firing power plants mostly with the new CFB technology to burn low calorific value local coal. Until now, nobody explained anything. Billions of US $ were invested for those plants. Hence there is no technical evaluation, no information, nothing. After evaluating this secret situation, my humble comment is as follows,

It is found so clear that our low calorific value local coal with 50-55% moisture (water) is almost impossible to fire without pre-heating, dehumidification, and could not be fired properly without installing dewatering systems. Excessive amounts of supplementary fuel oil firing is necessary to fire the coal if delivered to boiler combustion chamber as-is.

FarEast companies offered their off-the-shelf CFB designs to our local investors, as a panacea, backed by cheap prices and cheap financing by Exim banks funds.
They impressed our local investors with their ultra cheap prices. However their CFB technology does not meet to fire our high moisture low heating value local coal. So in the end, top management decision makers of local investor companies are aware of the current situation that they made the investment decision. Until their time for retirement, they do not make any sound and stay silent.

Your writer believes that the appropriate technology to fire our domestic coal is in Afşin-B plant 4x350MWE, which has "indirect pre-heating pulverized coal firing" coal combustion technology. The original designer German Company went bankruptcy due to various financial reasons at their homeland. Company withdrew from the market, and is not active anymore. But designers, engineers are still working in the commercial environment.

Their subcontractor Turkish companies (let us name them Gama, Tekfen, Tokar) upgraded themselves and became leader engineering companies serving worldwide to build new thermal power plants. Enka, Prokon, Efor companies have similar references.

Our experienced engineering contractor companies can recreate the original proven designs very easily in time if opportunity is placed to the private entrepreneurship. Those companies can also employ the original designers in their local design offices as expatriate consultants if they really need so. So you can ask our engineering companies to quote for 150-350 MWe thermal power plants. I believe that they have such capability to bring together such work in time.

Our local engineering companies have sufficient number of references, ample work experience and competency. So we employ domestic engineering, fabrication, construction, contracting, as well as domestic labour. We all know that there are hundreds thousands of engineers working in international contracting companies. We can bring together the same number of local engineers. Foreign companies employ people like us, there is no difference.

After an overseas construction job is completed, the contractor fulfills the contractual requirements, operate the plant in commissioning, temporary acceptance period, get the completion and receives the final acceptance, then leaves the plant. After that the operator is all alone to run the plant with all problems appearing later in time.

If the contractor is in the home country, then they are responsible to operate the thermal power plant all life long maybe 20-30 years operation. Contractor has to solve every problem, satisfy the client at all times in case problems, accidents, troubles arise. If not, then the client not only stops working with you, but tells all others in the market their displeasure that you can not work any more.

Continuous work with your client keeps you alive, fit, and helps you to improve your design and your technology, makes you competitive in the global market.

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Ankara, 18 February 2016
Click to join EnergyNewsletterTurkey

Click to join EnergyNewsletterTurkey

Free Blog Counter