Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Intelligent Utilization of Afsin Elbistan Lignites

Energy independency is today the main element to qualify a country or a region independent. Energy independency can only be achieved by an intelligent combination and management of natural and socio-economic resources and technology. It is difficult to think that a country can protect his frontiers if his energy policy is fully import oriented.

This is also why some new energy technologies were historically developed pushed by political or strategic orientations or during political crisis periods, such as the development of nuclear energy in France after the second world war by de Gaulle, or the coal gasification and the subsequent liquid fuel production technologies developed in Germany during the WWII or in South Africa during the economic sanctions years imposed by the international community during apartheid.

Turkey has many energy resources but they are not easy to exploit as the mainstream fossil fuels, oil, natural gas or coal, are. The deepening of the hydroelectricity power in Turkey needs careful and intelligent policies taking into account its impact on the environment, the agriculture and the inhabited regions.

Turkey is a heaven of renewable energies but their development needs innovative technologies, large investments and a very intelligent socio-economic incentive policy. The intensive use of bio-resources for energy needs the careful evaluation of the competition between the use of crops for food or for energy and the impact on water resources, soil erosion and other environmental issues. Finally, the solid fossil resources of Turkey are mainly lignite of poor energetic and environmental quality.

The exploitation of the Afsin-Elbistan region lignites is therefore a challenge for the Turkish energy policy and independency. I offer below some notes I believe worth to consider when shaping the legal and techno-economic framework to ease the exploitation of these difficult resources.

1] What is at sake is the future of the Turkish energy policy and independency in the European context and more.

2] It is not possible for Turkey to not to have full control on the future Afsin-Elbistan lignite basin projects and the related technological development, energy policy, etc which are embedded in the outcome of future tenders for Afsin-Elbistan C&D phases. A Turkish consortium should lead such projects.

3] It is not possible to think about future Afsin-Elbistan thermal plant projects as a bis repetita of the Afsin-Elbistan A & B projects.

The thermal power plants that will be built within the C & D projects should last about 40 years. This means that the technology for the thermal power plants that will be built during this project should integrate the present cutting edge technology and, furthermore should be so designed to integrate later easily the technology under development today as a response to future technical, socio-economic and environmental constraints and regulations.

4] The envisaged technical capacities are very important: each power plant should have at least an installed capacity of 1200 MW (i.e. equal to the capacity of a nuclear power plant). The total lignite reserves dedicated to feed the plants for about 40 years is about 1 400 million tons.

5] The idea behind any proposal for new thermal plants aiming to use the Afsin-Elbistan lignites should be the IGCC concept.

This means Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plant.

In brief, coal is not fully burned but gasified (this is a kind of partial or incomplete combustion).

A mixture of CO+H2+CO2 gases arises from this process. This mixture can be directly burned in a gas turbine to produce power. The excess heat is used to produce steam for a steam turbine and power again (hence a combined cycle). Both gasification and combined cycle technologies are well mastered today.

There are also several IGCC plants working or under development

There are obviously some technical issues that should be better mastered (such as turbines fuelled by high H2 content mixtures).

The important issue with IGCC system is its high thermal efficiency and ability to reduce emissions (both SO2 and CO2).

During gasification as the O2 concentration is low, SO2 is not formed; instead H2S is formed which can be cleaned by known technologies so that pure sulphur can be extracted (which is a by product having commercial value).

6] Reducing CO2 emissions from thermal power plants is becoming an obligation at the EU level (hence the EU Zero Emission Plants platform; for 2020 all EU fossil fuel plants should be zero emission plants).

The best way to capture CO2 in the IGCC system is to convert the CO to CO2 before combustion and therefore combust only H2 as fuel.

The good thing with the IGCC technology is that it allows this possibility which can be included in the plant process at the beginning or added later when the economic conditions (CO2 taxes, etc) will render the CO2 abatement fully interesting (and mandatory).

7] CO2 is not a waste but a commodity.

It is already used in food, chemicals and fertilizers industry, among others. It is also used for EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) by pumping it to the oil or gas mines to ease the extraction of additional oil or gas difficult to extract without such a forced extraction. Other uses of CO2 can also be envisaged.

CO2 can be easily transported by pipelines. Therefore, for the Afsin-Elbistan project, if CO2 is captured it could be transported to Iraq or to Iran for EOR as a commodity (as a reverse flow to balance Turkish gas and oil purchases).

8] Another use of CO2 is the production of methanol by processing it with H2.

Therefore, several opportunities can be introduced by the IGCC technology to ease the introduction of a future H2 economy. First, the H2 obtained as a result of the gasification process can be used as fuel for power generation or as transport fuel (via fuel cells).

It can also be used to process the captured CO2 to methanol (which has several advantages compared to H2 in terms of safety, transportability, usability as fuel in the present heat engines, etc).

Also, in the Afsin-Elbistan region, river waters and solar energy can be used to produce H2 by electrolyzing water with PV electricity.

9] The IGCC system can be applied to coal/lignite but also to biomass or waste.

Therefore an IGCC plant can be considered as multi-fuel or fuel flexible. As the future Afsin-Elbistan tender conditions will oblige to recultivate the area after mining activities have been completed, such areas can be used to grow energy crops suitable for gasification.

Also, this strategy can be applied to areas surrounding the mining area to increase the energy crop yield and to revitalize the agriculture in the region.

10] Liquid transportation fuels can be produced starting by the gasification process (from the syngas) continued by processes such as Fischer-Tropsch and others. Transportation fuels (including aviation fuels) can therefore be produced from the syngas obtained by lignite gasification or by biomass gasification or by their co-gasification.

11] The Afsin-Elbistan IGCC project may enable Turkey to be a leader at the EU level within the Zero Emission Plants technology platform, by proposing an industrial scale demonstration unit for FP7.

12] Such a project will also have the support of environmentalist groups (NGO’s) which favor today clean fossil fuel technologies (IGCC with CO2 capture).

Courtesy of Iskender GÖKALP, Directeur
ICARE- Institut de Combustion, Aérothermique, Réactivité et Environnement
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (UPR3021)

Centre National de Recherche Technologique "Propulsion du Futur"

1c, Av. de la Recherche Scientifique
45071 Orléans Cedex 2, France

tel: 33-(0)2 38 25 54 63
tel mobile/cellular: 33-(0)6 89 09 76 62
Fax: 33-(0)2 38 25 78 75

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Subsidizing Electricity Price; How far?

"Dear Members of Press, I have no such statement - Price increase in electricity- in my agenda-. If there would be such a decision, then, the Government Speaker would definitely make a public announcement. All other statements are clearly nothing, but baseless gossip and rumor. We are very sensitive on these issues. Because our Government is in a great effort to upgrade the living standards of our citizens, we are not in the same mood of our past peers as “price increase in evening, and then again price increase in the next morning”. We accomplished to make to forget the wording “Price increase” from our daily life. I presume that all of you and our citizens wish to remember- those days- again. Do not let them again".

These were the words of the highest Political Authority of the Turkish Administration concerning the current discussions on the wholesale electricity prices last week.

On the other hand, in the last five years, the labor and equipment/material prices have exhibited 50 and 100% increases based on the current local economic indexes, respectively. Moreover, the price of natural gas received from GasProm of Russia has unbelievably increased by 73%; currently being 315 US Dollars per 1000 m3. The contribution of gas term to the overall wholesale electricity price is about 8.13 Cents/kWh, while, as of 18 Jan 2007, the Turkish average electricity wholesale price for TETAS (the Turkish Government owned Wholesale Company) is set at 7.6 Cents/kWh level.

Despite of all these frustrating consequences in gas prices, a member of foreign embassy in Ankara, who obviously seems to have the authority of representing GasProm, could openly stated towards the audience of an intellectual platform in a liberal university that;

"Gazprom, will certainly continue to increase the natural gas prices until otherwise their clients would find alternative fuel resources for themselves.",

thus creating a very cold environment in the audience.

Furthermore, in parallel with increase in political tension between USA and Iran, the oil prices and then as a consequence, the natural gas prices are expected to increase in 2008. The progressively increasing prices in NG during the last four years had a reflection on the Turkish Private Electricity Generation Sector, particularly on the autoproducers (Turkish independent Power Producers) and the Licensed Electricity Generation Companies which depend on natural gas in deep disappointment and frustration.

As a result of these frustrations, most of these companies have eventually found themselves with no alternative, but applying to Turkish Market Balancing and Settlement Center (MBSC / DUY, a spot market operated by the Turkish Transmission System Operator TSO, where electricity is sold with respect to hourly marginal costs) and selling their generation with respect to these marginal prices, and thus abandoning their existing bilateral contracts made with their customers.

Today, TETAS is functioning as a purchasing mechanism for wholesale electricity taken from these companies at a price of 12.5 Cents / kWh and selling at 7.6 Cent/kWh to the Turkish public wholesale market. So, how is the difference being financed and by whom? That difference is obviously financed by the other public establishment on the other side of the same Avenue, the Turkish Treasury.

More unfavorable side is that, the Political Authority now seems to have no alternative, but favoring the natural gas fired plants, due to the obvious fact that time allowed to close the gap between supply demand curves is too short for establishing other types of plants than gas,

the unfortunate fate of the members of the Present Political Authority is that although they had all of their political accusations against the members of the Previous Government in that respect that a high volume of redundant natural gas fired generation capacity has been established without any reasonable justification during the past five years,

and now they seem to be heading exactly to the same situation that they are to be surrendered by gas fired plants even by higher percentages.

Present situation reveals that almost 44% of the total electricity generation belongs to natural gas, and this share is expected to be increased to higher levels within the next five years, due to the obvious gap in the supply demand curves expected within the next two years, thus leading to significant increases in the wholesale and retail electricity prices.

Electricity prices have always been a very serious subject of political concern for Turkish Political Authorities, since it is vitally important for being politically popular and being successful in the next election(s). The present Political Authority obviously and clearly foresees the possible risks of getting politically unpopular due to high prices, and does not even pronounce any increase in electricity prices. Therefore, it seems that the report prepared Three Turkish Ministers advising “increase in Electricity Prices” has immediately been disappeared without being published.

With the fixed idea (obsession) of supplying cheap electricity to the local industry, current subsidy implemented on the Turkish wholesale market has obviously introduced severe symptoms on the private generation sector in the form of discouraging the foreign investments,

hence eventually leading to the obvious supply-demand unbalance expected to appear more clearly within the nest two years,

and create adverse effects in approximately 8 billion US Dollar equivalent, as a high burden on the Turkish Treasury.

The investors who could be interested in making further investments have obviously changed their intensions due to unfavorable climate created by the low electricity prices.

Within the directives of the Political Authority, the 8 billion US Dollar financial deficiency has already been compensated by the Turkish Treasury through the taxes paid by the ordinary citizens with no relation of consuming wholesale electricity whatsoever.

The obvious shortage between supply-demand balance however, would be felt soon in the Turkish wholesale and retail markets as sharp price increases within the next two years.

Unless a miraculous solution has been found, the developments seem to yield a picture exhibiting more and more dependency on the natural gas for electricity generation

and the unconditional surrender by the prices dictated by the unreliable neighbors on the North and East borders.

Your comments are welcome

Courtesy of Prof. Dr. Osman SEVAIOGLU
Department of Electrical & Electronics Engineering
Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

If you would be interested in receiving the complete pdf document of above article, please do send a short request email to the blog writer.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Repowering AMBARLI

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues

The last day for proposal delivery was initially on 4th December 2007, however due to many requests from interested parties, it was decided to cancel and re-announce the tender for granting a bid preparatory period of 2 months when postponement period of 20 days in the Public Procurement Law was deemed insufficient.

EUAS, which will make a renewed tender announcement after the specifications are revised, will set the new tender date in the
forthcoming days

Through press releases and internet web site of EUAS tender release,
your writer has inspected the new development/ tendering for Repowering project of our old Ambarli Thermal power plant.

There are 5 steam boiler/ steam turbine units in Ambarli, whereby first 3 units are at 110 MWe output capacities,

and the 4th -5th units are in 150 MWe generation capacities

Therefore we shall consider the repowering of 4th and 5th units each with 150 Mwe electricity generation capacities.

Proposal evaluation period is given as 120 calendar days;

Project execution is to be completed within next 1000 days upon effective date of contract.

It is our humble estimation that the contract value would be around 400+ Million US Dollars, and with that ball-park budget number, the tender project scope will cover;

Rehabilitation/ renovation of existing 2 each 150 Mwe Escher Steam turbines (vintage early 1970s)

Dismantling/ demolition of two each existing Sulzer steam boilers

Supply/ purchase/ site installation of two new gas turbines each with approximate electricity output of 250- 300 Mwe

Whereby only GE Energy, Siemens Westinghouse, Mitsubishi and Alstom can fabricate that big size gas turbines. We may also add Ansaldo Energia with their repowering past references,

However their production lines may not be available to meet our time schedule

Then design/ fabrication/ site installation of two each new heat recovery steam generators, fired/ unfired type, preferably forced circulation/ vertical gas pass,

These 2 each new gas turbines/ 2 each new heat recovery steam generators and 2 each existing steam turbines will be coupled,

New Instrumentation & Controls will be installed,

and in the end, we shall have a new combined cycle power plant with output capacity of 800-900 Mwe, firing natural gas only in Ambarli, on the European side of Turkey, on the north coast of Sea of Marmara, and west of Istanbul

Project financing would be a real challenge both for supplier and purchaser,

We have only a few reputable / reliable local contracting companies with references and engineering/ software/ hardware/ qualified human resource capability, with financial credibility to purchase such big size gas turbines, with qualified fabrication facilities to fabricate the heat recovery steam generators.

Your humble writer does not believe in any other party, who would declare to participate and execute such a big project properly,

Eastern cheap equipment suppliers do not have any capacity to fabricate such gas turbines nor have any license to export these equipment beyond their authorized national borders

Your writer does not believe that any Eastern company can get prequalification, nor any local bureaucrat/ technocrat can accept their prequalification application.

Last but not least, if you would be in need of Repowering Software, here is the ref web site,

That article is for your early information and further comments,
Your comments are always welcome.
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