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Turkey interested in buying Kazakhstani plasma-fuel system for thermal power plants

16 june 2014, 13:12

Turkey has expressed interested in purchasing Kazakhstani plasma-fuel system for its thermal power plants, Tengrinews reports citing the Vice Chairman of the National Scientific Council of Kazakhstan Vladimir Messerle.

Messerle, the author of the project, said that since Turkey had no abundant natural resources except for low grade coal - lignite, the local energy engineers were considering ways to effectively use what they had.

“We have a technology of solid fuel gasification. Tests have showed that it can work with lignite, too. We are offered to built a test power plant that will operate in a full cycle of lignite gasification to produce energy with high efficiency coefficient near Izmir, where there is a coal mine nearby,” Messerle said.

Kyrgyzstan is also interested in the Kazakh technology. They are planning to implement it at Bishkek power station. However, the Kyrgyz energy authorities faced some funding shortages, so they postponed implementation of the project until Kyrgyzstan enters the Customs Union (of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus). It is expected to enter before the end of this year.

The Kazakhstani scientists are also negotiating use of the plasma-fuel systems at Astana, Aksu and Ust-Kamenogorsk power plants in their home Kazakhstan. Cooperation with Aksu plant seems the most viable to them, as the power plant is undergoing a modernization at the moment. This simplifies installment of the plasma-fuel system.

According to Messerle, the first tests of the new technology were made at the Thermal Power Plant No 2 in 2010. Since then several shortcomings were eliminated and the system was improved. In summer 2013 the new plasma-fuel system was once again tested at Almaty Thermal Power Plant No 2. Unfortunately, the test was not successful. The inflamed coal did not burn steadily. To solve the issue, scientist proposed installing additional equipment. However, the power plant was not technically suited for this purpose.

The technology uses a set of plasma jets to inflame the coal (that catches fire only at over 1 thousand degrees Centigrade). To stimulate burning coal dust is supplied into the plasma-fuel system, where it mixes with plasma forming a highly-reactive two-component fuel.

The traditional system uses residual fuel oil to heat up the boilers to the required temperature before the coal starts burning. Burning of residual oil is accompanied by massive hazardous emissions. The combustion products contain nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxides, heavy metals and carcinogens.

Once operational and installed at coal-fueled power plants, the plasma-fuel system will enable the Kazakhstani fuel power stations to save up to 30 billion tenge ($200 million) a year, provided that the market price of one ton of residual fuel oil is at around $400. Use of the technology allows to more efficiently burn the coal and decrease the fuel underburning that is one of the problems of Kazakhstan's high-ash coal.

Reporting by Dmitriy Khegai, writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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