Sunday, October 08, 2017

Coal Curse in Eskişehir Alpu

TURKEY- Eskişehir Alpu Coal Fields and 
1080 MWe New Thermal Power Plant, OpEd Analysis

According to the MTA 2011 report (by İlker Şengüler) and Eskişehir Anadolu University 2014 Academic Article (by Korhan Usta, Hatice Kutluk), there are two horizontal local lignite coal layers extending underground at depth from 250 to 450 meters in the Eskişehir-Alpu coal basin in the southwest-northeast direction with layer thicknesses range from 0.55 to 31.60 meters.
The amount of proven reserves is about 1.5 billion metric tons. The upper layer had an average ash content of 36%, sulfur content of 1.87%, moisture content of 36% and an average lower calorific value of 1950 kcal / kg.
In the lower horizontal layer, average ash content is 28%, sulfur content is 1.13%, humidity is 32% and average lower calorific value is 2150 kcal / kg.
It is apparent that Eskisehir-Alpu lignite which is the third biggest lignite basin of Turkey has very important economic value.
Eskişehir Alpu coal fields, currently belonging to Electricity Generation Inc. (EUAS) were covered in the scope of new privatization. With the provision of a 1080 MW power plant, the project will be handed over to the private group which will give the lowest electricity sales price in terms of UD cents per unit kw-hour.
According to the news of the local Dünya (World) newspaper on 28 September 2017 (by reporter Mehmet Kara), the tenderers who will participate in the tender by means of negotiations will compete with the commitment to sell electricity to the EUAŞ at the lowest price. The negotiation procedure shall be implemented by subtracting from the initial sale price and shall be concluded by an open auction to be made by the participation of the prequalified bidders whose bidding negotiation is continued, if deemed necessary by the tender commission.
The deadline for qualification for the privatization of the Eskişehir Alpu coalfields, with the condition of establishing a new 1080 MWe thermal power plant and the transfer of operating rights, was set as January 26, 2018.
Underground coal deposits will be mined, 1080 MWe capacity thermal power plant will be constructed nearby at mine mouth, coal will be enriched here, then  electricity will be produced, then will be sold to national grid, and treasury will give a purchase guarantee. At the privatization administration, the minimum sale price is expected to be around 5-6 US cents / kWh.
Eskişehir Alpu Coal fields privatization tender required TL 25 million in temporary bid bold for the interested parties for the transfer of operating rights.
According to the pre-investment project as developed by EÜAŞ earlier, approximately 116.8 hectares of 1,125 hectares of coal production area are planned, and about 30 hectares of coal stock areas are to be allocated. The thermal power plant will be constructed within the scope of the project with estimated value of US $ 1.8 billion. The total installed capacity is 3 X 360 MWe and the thermal power is 900 X 3 MWt. As the main fuel is the local coal of Eskişehir Alpu underground coal fields for the 1080 MWe Alpu Thermal Power Plant. Approximately 6.3 million tons of domestic coal (lignite) will be burned in the plant annually. When the plant goes into operation, a total of 1 million 950 thousand tons of coal waste will be generated, including 1.6 million tons of base ash and 350,000 tons of gypsum per year. The new plant will be supplied with coal from sector B, covering 1,787 hectares.
In Turkey, with low calorific value of domestic coal, there are thermal power plants with proven designs in long term operation, let us name them. Soma-B # 5-6, Seyitömer # 4, Kangal # 3, Afşin-B.
They are all very good at burning domestic coal, they all proved themselves in 20-30 years long operation. They solved the problem of domestic coal burning, but there may still be in need of new dust filters, and new FGD desulfurization.
Our investors investing in domestic coal have not told us about the results of their investments in China- Korea- Far East designs, plants where most of them bought from Far Eastern companies. We do not have details of their operations as explained in exhibitions in panels at conferences. There are no success stories told. There are no high efficiency, no high availability information. The leaked news are not good. Once a project is realized, the project operation results are generally shared with everyone in public.
There is nothing publicly disclosed about CFB (circulating fluidized bed) domestic coal investments in the last 10 years. There is a deep silence in new plants with most of the domestic coal-burning CFB technology. Nobody explains anything, on thermal power plant operations where billions of dollars are invested. There is no news made public, no information made available. Operation results are not explained, information is not given.
Our explanation is as follows, we have very wet, almost 50-55% water content- domestic coal containing moisture which can not be burned properly without preheating, dehumidification, dewatering systems. In extreme amounts, available wet lignite fuel can not be operated without using high amount of supplementary fuel oil, which means there is a hidden non-operation or failure problem.
New plants have continuous failure in coal feed and ash/ slug removal systems. Continuous rehabilitation is being done. The systems are completely renewed. ESP Dust filters, FGD flue gas desulfurization systems are not working properly, they are often shut down. However, the plants still continue to work, and hence they pollute the environment.
Far Eastern companies are proposing ready-made (off the shelf) CFB designs, all-in-one solutions, with the cheapest financial packages of their exim banks. Domestic investors, who are influenced by very cheap prices, are convinced. China-Korea-Far East design CFB technology are not suitable for our indigenous coal reserves. Senior management decision makers who make this investment decision are aware of the situation. They keep silent until they retire, they do not make a sound.
The thermal power plant, which will be located at a distance of 40 km from the city center of Eskişehir, may become a real disaster for the Eskisehir city if the environmental equipment would be inadequate, if the project is not carried out under proper international strict tender conditions, if the contractor firm is not strictly regulated by international norms, standards, rules and regulations. An uncontrolled project that has left at the mercy of a Far Eastern contractor who will leave after 2-3 years from the installation of the plant is wrong. The main contractor of this project must be a competent local company that has been tested in the past with proven past references at the same or higher output capacities.

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, 10 October 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hard Times for Donald Trump Administration

Donald Trump would be the president since some delayed decisions must be taken urgently in the US market.
That was our expectation earlier.
Then Donald Trump, a successful, wealthy business man has been chosen as the President. deliciously, visually appealing president who would take these tough decisions without thinking too much.
Donald Trump sworn on January 20, 2017, he then officially became President of the United States, followed by a ceremony at White House. He then suspended the following trade agreements.
TTIP, Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership
TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership (trade agreement with Japan, China, Australia and other Pacific countries).
NAFTA to renegotiate with North America, namely Mexico Canada.
Thereafter, China, Japan, the European Union exports to the United States, 35% customs tax would be imposed at the US entrance,
A physical wall will be constructed so that illegal immigrants from the Mexican border can not cross. Unregistered  5-6 million illegal foreigners will be deported, Muslims will be registered, and will be monitored for their probable illegal activities if any.  every  foreign activity will be closely inspected.
Syrians refugees will be sent back.
Nationals of Iraq, İran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen will not enter USA either as refugees or as tourists.
For Citizens of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, such ban is not in question. If a country does not want to take refugees or immigrants, nobody can enforce it.
The president's job is very hard in the USA. Every decision must be approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate and even the Supreme Court if necessary.
The order for refugees by the President was dismissed by a federal judge on a disrupted decision, appealed to the decision. 
Donald Trump used the term "so-called" definition for the judge, the word stuck to himself, and the opponents began to call Trump as "the so-called President."
In the White House website, environmental pages have been removed. that is to say, the public control is being reduced in environmental issues, "Invest in fossil fired fuel based thermal power plants, and you can pollute the environment as you want,"
That means investors may continue their construction activities in Keystone XL, Dakota Access gas Pipeline.
The first day Trump met with rich businessmen, his talk was broadcast on TV.
Trump said he would increase employment within the United States. 
Anyhow employment is already very good, 
unemployment is at the lowest level in recent years, at 5%, 
Who will replace to the simple workmanship of the Chinese people? do you need?
The power in the hands of the US president is very small. The American voter chooses the sheriff in his own town or province, or the city he lives in, he elects the local the judge, local public prosecutor, the mayor, and the chief educator. Intra-state governance is managed locally, not from Washington. Administration is fully decentralized in the USA.
What will happen to the other economies when the US starts to raise the Fed's interest rates? Donald Trump has very little power on Federal Reserve on money issues. 
Trump seems to consume all the political gunpowder on the first day. 
The more gunpowder for future will not be available nearby. 
Moreover Trump administration broke up with media organizations. 
The American and world economies are not only made up of factories. 
Donald Trump's TV Show, real estate, hotel, concrete and cement-oriented head is unable  to perceive further developments"
Donald Trump is taking steps to make them look cute just because he gets votes from his uneducated lower middle class citizens.
You can not keep his people voting for Donald Trump in a factory that runs in a two-hour similar Chinese practice. 
All people who have a fair idea without sound knowledge. 
The poorly educated poor majority, who are finally tricked into cheating money, will be US voters in the end, but the time will be too late.
Trump says he will be going to put 35% tax on Chinese property. 
Aren't the Chinese free to reciprocate?
They can put 40% tax on imported American goods. 
Chinese investors have US Treasury bills worth US $ 2 trillion. 
They have started to dispose them already.
The best selling car in China is US production GM. 
Chinese  also put in extra tax for the GM brand. 
Who will loose in this case? 
The history of the automobile workers' union of joint  the US and Canada is more than 100 years old. 
Even the authorized workers' union is the only one between the two countries.
If we cancel NAFTA, the first to sink are automobile manufacturing facilities in the US.
Because the US factories are buying engines from Canada, what will you put in place?
The Donald Trump team is very much a novice in politics, except for the former generals who are appointed for national security and defense. 
Newly appointed civilians do not know politics, diplomacy, public administration, 
They do not have public experience. 
They are Unconventional  individuals in the United States. 
They may be billionaires, but these newcomer politicians are still very young.
They got good money in the market, they have good luck.
They benefit from the system's gaps, but they are not the well-known ones. It was very clear that they were very novices, and that they were going to the language of the USA media for the first time.
The assigned civilizations are stepped one by one. 
Trump was not authorized. 
The racist hate speech advocating white supremacy is under serious pressure.
The sculptures of the soldiers of the southern commanders are disappeared.
What if Trump trade practices are imitated by other countries?
Trump says, "America first." 
The extreme right-wing parties of Europe may say the same motto. 
"Germany first", "France first", "Netherlands first", "Austria first".
Donald Trump's decisions, their priorities are very important for the world.
We do not know how accurate the decisions are for US, but there may be serious similar applications in our geography.
We do not share the same political views with Donald Trump,
but we have been saying some similar things for years. 
Domestic design, domestic engineering, domestic contracting, domestic manufacturing, local assembly all are required to be done in energy equipment design and supply, especially thermal power plant construction. 
The construction of thermal power plants is not so difficult, 
our domestic companies have done in the past, now they can do it again.
If we do not implement it, then we can not close our industrial trade imbalance with China, Far East or other cheaper eastern European products.
Last year Turkey imported 23 billion US dollars from China and sold them 2 billion US dollars worth of goods. There is no such great imbalance in bilateral trade relations.
Turkey is  very dependent on the US for defense. We receive US $ 2.0-2.5 billion of weapons and ammunition each year from the United States.
Last year, US arms ammunition sales have been pending unofficially.
We export US $ 8 billion in 2016 with US imports of US $ 9 billion.
Donald Trump and his team need to get a good look at their thinking.
Commercial domestic market protection ideas should be seriously considered. No matter what political will it is, Trump's decisions need to be taken seriously. It is not just growth we observe in the country's economy by building residence hotels, by performing excavation of cement piles of simple worked jobs.

In any democratic country, governing political authority should give prosperity, wealth, peace and happiness to the voters in order to be reelected for sure.

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, 22 August 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

Nuclear Technology in Turkey

Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) management in Ankara closed 30 years of Nuclear education in 1999. More than 2000 M.Sc. and Ph.D. thesis on nuclear technology are standing idle in the library shelves since then. METU has decided to educate the environment and renewable energy. Metu Management has no intention of re-opening the nuclear issue.

However, Nuclear power plant design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly and operation are the sub-discipline of Mechanical Engineering. The nuclear plant is in principle a thermal plant. Nuclear fuel is used instead of fossil fuel. It is completely a thermal power plant design after the nuclear core. Mechanical Engineers can not be far from nuclear technology.


In 2007, a joint study of USA and Israel produced a computer virus named "Stuxnet v.0.5". In 2009, the virus was transmitted to the computers of Siemens Scada, the control center of the Iranian Busheir Natanz Nuclear Power Plants, with confidential permission of the US President and the work of secret services and memory sticks. All PCs in the plant, all PCs in the employees' houses were crashed. All have been defeated. The plant construction procurement process is delayed by 2 (two) years.

Meanwhile, the virus was isolated by Iranian computer engineers, the architecture was resolved, more dangerous joints were made, and it was sent back out of Iran. Stuxnet is now out of control in the globe. In the past years, 2 (two) each of 1000 Mwe strong US Nuclear Power Plant was disabled for 3 weeks due to this virus. The loss estimated an estimated US $ 100 million.

Every call you make with Google, every contact you make with gmail, is watched by "Big Brother". That's why Iran has stopped using Google and gmail.

The Stuxnet v0.5 Virus and its new clone virus (Flame) have become a very dangerous war weapon. In the future it will not only stop the nuclear control systems, it could now claim out of control. Valves, pumps, control systems may not work or they may work incorrectly or in reverse if any accident has occur, to open or close, which may result in a new "Three-Mile Island", "Chernobyl" or "Fukushima" disaster. If such an attack is made on Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant control room computers, who will control power plant security? Is there any security weakness? It sounds like science-fiction disaster, but that's the reality.

In modern times, fighting soldiers no longer use ammunition, guns, rifles, or guns. Syber soldier engineers working on the screen now appeared. Unmanned aerial vehicles are controlled from the US base in Nevada and they are operating in Afghanistan air space.

Our geography is a difficult environment. We have to be strong in order to continue our existence in this difficult geography. We have to provide deterrence against dangerous neighbors with nuclear weapons around us. Defense partnerships are not enough. We need to have conventional weapons and, if necessary, also nuclear weapons. We need unmanned aerial vehicles (drone), ATAK helicopters, F-16 or F-35 aircraft, nuclear weapons. So it is difficult to think of a nuclear-free Turkey.

When the results could not be obtained in normal methods, in 2010, Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Project was directly tendered to the Northern Neighbor in a closed, secret, imposing easy way to interrogate. The first budget price was 20 billion US Dollars and the first operation was planned in 2020. Then the project execution revision was made. The budget price was increased, the first operating date was moved forward. There is 49% Turkish minority share ownership in the contractor group. Waste control and central computer controls - safety are not clear to public. The construction initiative is no longer in our control.

In our geography we need nuclear technology, reasonable capacity nuclear power plant. But how accurate is the capacity, location and method applied? A political project can only be financed by a political loan. Political credit ends in time. Large projects run with commercial credit support. It is too difficult, or perhaps impossible, to find a commercial loan for a political project.

It is not possible to control the base design of the project.
There are a lot of questions.
How to cool Akkuyu nuclear plant with very hot (average + 30C) sea water?
Who will handle waste management?
How will the wastes be transported, where will they be transported?
How is the "Waste Storage" to save the environment and humans in case of any accident,
Is there any "emergency evacuation plan"?

Every year we send 75-80 young students to our Northern Neighbor. At this point in time, some of them must have their graduation. Where are they employed? Are they are trained in nuclear plant management, not nuclear design engineers, but rather as nuclear plant operators? How are we going to give the nuclear power plant responsibility to the inexperienced new graduates?

Bursa Orhaneli 210 Mwe thermal power plant, Seydişehir Aluminum Plants, Iskenderun Iron and Steel Factory, previously constructed by our Northern neighbor with the same procurement method, however they have not been able to work smoothly in our environment. The arctic designs of our Northern Neighbors that are only compatible with their very cold climate, are not suitable to our warm climate. They quickly breakdown in operation and do not show market consistency and continuity.

In France, 79% of electricity is produced from nuclear power plants, but all nuclear power plants are of French design, French fabrication. The operation is entirely carried out by French personnel. They have problems in waste management, but everything is solved by themselves. The solution is themselves. There is no stranger third party in the middle. Ours is completely foreign to us. Your writer does not know how this will work, and worries about the final outcome.

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.

This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.

Ankara, 24 February 2017

Recommendations for Business Travellers

Today we will give practical advice on business life and business trips. What I write here is not told in schools, you learn in time by doing it in business life. It may not be all correct. If you have a business, sales, partnership, cooperation meeting in another city, do not plan to go back on the same day and return on the same day.

If you go back and forth in the same day, this means that for the opposite party. Your company is financially unable to pay your simple travel and hotel expenses. You are a new, unauthorized, insignificant employee. You do not care about us because you do not give us time.

Go to that city / country before the day before, stay in a clean and reasonably priced hotel close to the meeting place, keep your travel expenses at reasonable scale, do not spend the night at night, do not drink alcohol in the evening, get up early in the morning, get up early in the morning, make a good solid breakfast.

Wear clean and serious, wear sport for factory and construction site, but dark suit for urban office meetings, tie for ladies, tie for men is a must.

If possible, walk or with the easiest means of transportation and at least 15 minutes before the meeting. Ask for a 10:00 AM meeting. The day is long, you can go on to the topic after lunch. If you start at 02:00 PM after lunch, there will be no time to talk detail. Meetings after 04:00 PM will not be fruitful ends quickly.

Travel is a good opportunity for you to present your company, and learn their company. Are they experienced and reliable? Can they finish your work on time? Can they pay? How is their attitude to their employees? How is their business environment? Is it an old, established, reliable, serious institution? Or is it a new company that has grown rapidly with the chance of taking extreme risks?

From the attitude of the security guard at the gate, from the face of the tea servers, from the air of the working environment, from work intensity, you will immediately understand all of this.

Look at the security system. I can understand the hard security measures at the entrance doors of public offices, embassies in modern times, but it is difficult to understand the more exaggerated, often unnecessary 3-4 step security systems of private companies.

I think that a good workplace should be an open office. Employees should not be confined to cubicles. Bosses, department chiefs should not occupy overly large working areas. Working people should not be controlled by cameras. Cameras should be in critical places (entry gate, cashier-teller). These are all important indicators.

Be sure to go to the toilet before the meeting. Check your appearance, comb your hair, wash your hands thoroughly with cold water. Your hands should not be dirty, sweaty when you shake hands. Ask for simple tea to drink. If they do not have tea, you can get Turkish coffee. Do not eat any cake. Your hands may become dirty.

At lunch time, ask for a light workplace meal. Do not go outside. Avoid long lunches. Keep evening meals short on invitations. Speak on popular sports, football, literature, music, wine, opera, rock during lunch conversations. Do not go into religious and political matters.

Do not be late for the meeting. Those who leave early in the morning, are not doing right. Traffic stress in the morning, then airplane stress, stress after arrival at the meeting place, stress to catch the return plane, all prevents you from doing your job properly.

Make sure you agree on a draft agenda before the meeting. Send your resume if you meet strangers, ask them for their resume. You may also ask their linkedin page for brief introduction.

Gather information about the other party. Study their internet web pages carefully, learn their organization structure, and have advance knowledge about the work they do.

Bring your company's promotional documentations, promotional CD, your business card. Do not bring your laptop computer unless it is deemed necessary. If you bring your laptop, do not run your laptop in the meeting if it is not necessary. Turn off your mobile phone or at least bring it to silence mode.

If you are going to make a present ion, take the presentation to the USB memory stick, present on their PCs, and leave the presentation on the desktop as pdf. Do not bring a presentation with confidential information that you can not leave there at all.

Do not give gifts. It's usually misunderstood. Expensive gifts may decrease the value of your bid. Documents you bring, Demo CD's are a gifts. If they give you a gift at the end of the meeting, do not hurry to give them your gift. Give them an equivalent value gift when they visit you.This gift can be a new book about the technical issue or about your country. Far Easterners give a good quality tea as gift.

Do not communicate individually with the other side of the table. Do not give personal details. Explain everything by speaking simple words. Do not make any hand gesture. A hand gesture that you use in your home country for "very good" may mean "very bad" or even "obscene" in another country.

Do not go outside the agenda. Do not respond to new requests immediately. Ask to report in the next meeting, or let them know you will respond them in writing. Keep up the length of the meeting as scheduled.

Do not tell them your return day-time to the other side of the table, especially when you are abroad (German-Japanese-USA). They want to know immediately when you will return at the beginning of the meeting. After learning, they relax till the last minute to pressure you to agree on their own terms.

Be comfortable. Stay on Saturday and Sunday if necessary and tell them you will work for them. Nobody wants to sacrifice on Saturday, Sunday. On Friday afternoon, you agree on everything up before weekend.

Going and returning on the same day is a sign of inexperience. An experienced business man gives himself time. Short-haul 2-3 hour flights are not important. But if you travel long distances, beyond the ocean, or beyond the continents, ask your management for a "business-class" air ticket. If they don't, then do not stay there, do not work there, they do not worth it.

When you go to a foreign country, be serious when you pass passport control. Do not make joke, do not laugh, answer the questions correctly, short. Do not talk to your cell phone in front of the passport police.

Where will you stay? How much cash do you have with you? Why did you come? These questions will always be asked.

If you tell them, "I'm sleeping in the park, my return date is uncertain", they can send back by plane or you will be interned or 1-2 hours.

No matter how famous, rich, important you are in your country, these are not important in front of other country's passport police. They do not have to accept you into their country.

Follow your rules. Give clear answer to the questions, and go back to your country when you are done.

When your meetings are completed in that city, in that country, return your home immediately. THY provides early flights. They may send you home early by plane.

If you wish to have sightseeing, make it in another time with your own money. Write the minutes of the meeting about your meeting/ interview on paper as simple notes. Do not work with the laptop on the road.

Do not drive the car at night. Do not drive car abroad. There are other traffic rules everywhere. You can not drive cars in Germany with the rules of Turkey, you get ticket, fined heavily.

Our hard, hasty, fast drive is very costly to you in America.

Their intersection protocol, highway lane changing rules, parking rules, maximum speed limits are different from ours. You can not change lanes as you wish. You can not speed. The traffic police's punishment is huge.

There are countries without rules, it is impossible for us to drive there.

You may use public transport, underground, or taxis. Do not take risks. After returning home, do not go to work the next day unless you must.

I do not say that what I write here is absolutely true. These are all personal preferences. These rules are formed over time. Your style may be different. If you write to me your recommendations of your own business travel experience, I would be very happy.

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.

This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.

Ankara, 4 July 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

An Old Story of Steam Boiler Proposal

Together With Company in Tampere, Finland
In the second half of 1980’s, a rich local businessman with textile plants in Istanbul and Edirne, called us. In his textile plants, energy costs were getting high. To be competitive in the international markets, he was considering to invest in a new power plant to utilize cheap local coal available nearby to meet the energy and steam demand of the plants. Thrace Saray local coal has very low calorific value (1500-2000 kcal/kg LHV) and very high moisture content (50-60%). Our North American based joint venture partner advised that they had no matching thermal power plant designed for this coal.
We had no internet at that time. We reviewed available literature and technical magazines to find an appropriate boiler supplier with reliable references with similar coal firing experience in the world. Then we found a boiler company in Finland, in Tampere, called Tampella Oy. They were firing a similar coal with a new bubbling fluidized bed combustion technology at high output capacities. Today there is nothing left unknown for this technology. There are thousands of similar references in operation.
So we made first contact through a fax machine. The company asked for coal samples to fire in their test stand to see if they could design appropriate design to match combustibles. We transferred the request to our investor. Since they were textile exporters to Europe, it was very easy for them to mobilize for the transportation of 50-ton coal sample from a coal mine to Tampere, Finland. Then we made travel plans to go to Tampere to witness the coal firing tests in their laboratory. Today there are 2-daily Thy flights from Istanbul to Helsinki, but back then in 1980’s, we had only one flight per week.
So we chose the Lufthansa, Ankara-Munich- Helsinki route. From the Helsinki airport we took a train to the city center then moved to local train to Tampere for three more hours. We checked in our city hotel late at night. The next day, our Finnish company met us at the breakfast lounge, took us to their head office for an exchange of information. Then after lunch, we were invited to the test lab to observe the test combustion. The boiler design was consistent, the test was satisfactory. We drafted our cooperation and license agreements, agreed on scope split, an tentative timetable to finalize our joint proposal. The next day we returned home through the same route.
At that time, Finnish engineers had no international experience, all their references were in their home market. Their new basic design took some time to complete. Their income expectations were high above prevailing market prices. Anyway, they completed their design, priced their scope, and advised details of non-critical parts in our scope. So we made estimations to price our scope, plus a steam turbine and its auxiliaries, both scopes were brought together. Then we submitted our final joint proposal to our end customer in Istanbul.
During the evaluation period, Finnish engineers came to Turkey, visited us in Ankara, then we together visited the client in their Istanbul head office and Edirne plant.
The owner of the textile plant was an experienced mechanical engineer with a post-graduate degree from a reputable European university. He could speak English, French and German since. I suppose he could also speak Spanish and Italian.
In his Istanbul office, he had priceless oil paintings of famous painters from Ottoman period. From time to time, he was inviting me to his office and asking clarifications of our proposal, where I would often spend the whole day in his office. During that time, I was witnessing his daily work load, his business transactions, marketing sales, logistics, finance, operation, staff problems. Sometimes I had got a headache watching as his life was not enviable.
On the weekend, on Friday evening, he would fly to the west coast of Ireland, boarding on his ocean boat, with a 10-men professional crew for training to prepare for an upcoming international sailing race on the Atlantic ocean. On Monday morning he was back in his office.
In the end, our investor was not pleased with our high proposal price. Finnish engineers were not salesmen and they were not so responsive. Other competitors could not supply their counter proposals. All my documentation was stored in a single 3.5″ floppy disk in Word and Excel files. Since there are no longer available 3.5″ floppy disk readers slots in the existing PC computers, I had to transfer all those files to a USB stick to write this article. All letters, cooperation agreements, minutes of meetings, cooperation agreement, confidentiality agreements, estimation calculations were all stored on that 3.5″ floppy.
Today there is no need to transport coal samples abroad. There are test facilities in Turkish research institutes, Tubitak Marmara Gebze And in Metu Chemical engineering combustion laboratories. They have all the necessary facilities to test coal samples in bubbling and circulating fluid bed combustion chambers.
We had further contacts to understand the proposal evaluations, but it was not promising. There were no easy cheap, but unreliable far east proposals at that time. Due to ongoing economic difficulties, ups and downs of market forces, the investor company had gone into survival turmoil. The Finnish boiler company was sold to an US conglomerate together with all its technology and know-how.
I got peer criticism from my own company, “that coal was hopeless, with no possibility to fire, you wasted company resources and you furnished consultancy without getting paid”. I don’t think so. We proved that local coal could be fired with appropriate fluid bed technology. It was an intelligent game between us. We had demand, we had a sound design, and financing was available.
If the client was satisfied with design and price, we could end up with an order. We had an highly intelligent businessman, and we had the beauty of joint work.

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.
This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.

Ankara, 24 June 2017
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