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Coal Power Plant

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Power Shortage in Mindanao: A Call for New Power Plants

It is swirling in the news that Mindanao suffers from power shortage. According to the news aired on March 27, 2012 over GMA News' Saksi, The Energy Department had said that projected peak demand in Mindanao is 1,300 MW although the available capacity is only at 1,100 MW, excluding the required reserve margin to maintain the "integrity" of the Mindanao Grid which is pegged at 250 MW.
The same television report said the power shortage was reportedly caused by the lack of electricity being produced by the hydro electrical power plants in Mindanao due to heat brought by the dry season.
"Considering the future lower rainfall forecast in Mindanao, we cannot rely solely on hydropower plants. Non-hydro base-load is immediately needed and this will only happen if everyone cooperates,” Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said. According to the DOE's Mindanao Field Office curtailment schedule obtained by GMA News Online on March 28, 2012, some parts of Region IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII have recently been experiencing rotational brownouts. Among these areas are: Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur (4 hrs/day), Zamboanga City (4 hrs/day), Maramag, Bukidnon (1 hr/day), Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (2.5 hrs/day), Marawi City, Lanao del Sur (3.5 hrs/day), Tubod, Lanao del Norte (3 hrs/day), Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental (3 hrs/day), Calamba, Misamis Occidental (5 hrs/day), Digos City, Davao del Sur (3 hrs/day), Tagum City, Davao Norte (1.5 hrs/day), Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat (1 hr/day), Kidapawan City (4.32 hrs/day), Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao (4 hrs/day), General Santos City, South Cotabato (4 hrs./day), Koronadal City, South Cotabato (1 hr/day), Surigao City, Surigao del Norte (4 hrs/day), Siargao, Surigao del Norte (3 hrs/day), Tandag, Surigao del Sur (1 hr/day), San Francisco, Agusan del Sur (2 hrs/day). (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from Last August 7, 2012, parts of Mindanao have suffered power supply interruptions anew as the island’s already-insufficient generation capacity has been eroded by emergency repair and preventive maintenance work on some plants. |
As of August 8, 2012, Milfrance Q. Capulong, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) corporate communications officer for Mindanao, said the island’s power situation is back to "red alert" status, indicating severe deficiency in supply. Santiago C. Tudio, South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 1 (Socoteco-1) manager, said "The brownouts that we’re experiencing would continue unless new power plants would rise". (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from

Coal-Fired Power Plant in Davao City An analysis written in April 10, 2012 reports that electricity users in power-strapped Mindanao are up in arms against government plans to build more coal-fired plants to relieve the critical energy shortage, warning that these would lock the island into a polluting source of power. The warning was sounded ahead of the energy summit in Davao City at the weekend by the environmentalist foundation, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, which claimed that contracts had been prepared to allow the construction of coal plants which are reported to be “more expensive, dirty, and nonrenewable power.” (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from

How Coal Power Plant Produce Electricity

The conversion from coal to electricity takes place in three stages.
Stage 1
Conversion of energy takes place in the boiler. Coal is burnt in the boiler furnace to produce heat. Carbon in the coal and Oxygen in the air combine to produce Carbon Dioxide and heat.
Stage 2
The second stage is the thermodynamic process. 1. The heat from combustion of the coal boils water in the boiler to produce steam. In modern power plant, boilers produce steam at a high pressure and temperature. 2. The steam is then piped to a turbine. 3. The high pressure steam impinges and expands across a number of sets of blades in the turbine. 4. The impulse and the thrust created rotates the turbine. 5. The steam is then condensed and pumped back into the boiler to repeat the cycle.

Stage 3
Rotation of the turbine rotates the generator rotor to produce electricity based of Faraday’s Principle of electromagnetic induction.

Key Facts About Coal-Fired Electricity Production
In practice to effect these three stages of conversion, many systems and sub systems have to be in service. Also involved are different technologies, like combustion, aerodynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, pollution control, and logistics.
As an example consider these facts for typical coal fired power plant of capacity 500 MW. * Around 2 million tons of coal will be required each year to produce the continuous power. * Coal combustion in the boiler requires air. Around 1.6 million cubic meter of air in an hour is delivered by air fans into the furnace. * The ash produced from this combustion is around 200,000 tons per year. * Electrostatic precipitators capture almost all of this ash without dispersing this to the atmosphere. Pollutants from coal power plants like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide can also affect the environment. Thermal power plants are the biggest producers of Carbon Dioxide. * The boiler for typical 500 MW units produces around 1600 tons per hour of steam at a temperature of 540 to 600 degrees Centigrade. The steam pressures is in the range of 200 bar. The boiler materials are designed to withstand these conditions with special consideration for operational safety. * Heat transfer from the hot combustion gases to the water in the boiler takes place due to Radiation and convection. * The Electrical generators carry very large electric currents that produce heat and are be cooled by Hydrogen and water. * The steam leaving the turbine is condensed and the water is pumped back for reuse in the boiler. To condense all the steam it will require around 50,000 cubic meter per hour of cooling water to be circulated from lakes, rivers or the sea. The water is returned to the source with only an increase of 3 to 4 degrees centigrade to prevent any effect to the environment. * Apart from the cooling water the power plant also requires around 400 cubic meter per day of fresh water for making up the losses in the water steam cycle.
(Retrieved September 16, 2012 from

Negative Impacts of Coal Power Plant

Air pollution * Carbon dioxide
In addition to the direct harm to humans, coal emissions harm our environment as well. The emission of carbon dioxide has received an increasing amount of media attention in the past decade, and for good reason. Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide due to human activities, such as coal power, are believed to be a key contributing factor to global warming and climate change by the scientific community. * Particulate pollution
The fine particulate matter emitted when coal is burned has the potential to significantly harm human health. These small particles are breathed into the body, damaging lung alveoli or helping to trigger lung cancer. The smallest particles can work their way directly into the blood stream.
This type of pollution contributes to approximately 24,000 deaths in the USA per year by damaging cardio-respiratory health and triggering lung cancer. The EPA considers the majority of these to be preventable deaths, as emissions reduction technology exists to prevent approximately 90% of these deaths. * Sulphur oxides (SOx)
Unless removed before combustion, the sulphur present in coal will be emitted as sulphur oxides when the coal is burned. In the atmosphere, sulphur oxides are capable of forming sulphuric acid, which damages plants and buildings through the production of acid rain. The concentration of sulphur in coal deposits varies from site to site, but it is known that China has particularly high levels of sulphur in their coal. In China alone, there are approximately 400,000 deaths each year due to sulphur dioxide emissions, the majority of which are emissions from burning coal that has a high sulphur content.
Many plants and animals are sensitive to changes in soil and water pH, so acid rain will have a variable but overall negative effect on ecosystems. The plant and animal species that are particularly sensitive can be put in serious danger by the emissions from coal power plants. Damage to flora and fauna has a significant effect on the balance of the ecosystem. * Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Nitrogen oxides are produced from the oxygen and nitrogen gases present in high-temperature coal combustion. Nitrogen oxides contribute to the greenhouse effect, the formation of acid rain, ground level ozone production, and photochemical smog. Nitrogen oxides can also produce nitric acid when interacting with moisture and other chemicals in places such as the human lungs. Ozone, a product of nitrogen oxide reactions with other pollution and the atmosphere, is a harmful oxidizing agent that damages the lungs. As a result of all of these effects, nitrogen oxides released through the combustion of coal lead to numerous early deaths due to respiratory and heart damage, as well as the aggravation of asthma and bronchial conditions.

Although many opposed the proposal of building a coal-fired power plant in Davao City due to its said negative effects in health, it was updated on July 3, 2012 that a unit of Aboitiz Power Corporation has signed a $546-million deal with contractors and suppliers for the construction of the proposed 2 x 150-megawatt (MW) clean coal-fired power plant in Southern Mindanao. In a disclosure, Aboitiz Power said its subsidiary Therma South Inc. (TSI) “entered into construction, supply and coordination contracts with local and foreign contractors for the construction of TSI’s 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power generation facility.” The coal-fired power plant will be located in Toril District, Davao City and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur. It is reported that TSI will use Clean Coal Technology, which seeks to reduce harmful emissions from the said power plant. TSI already secured an environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through the Environmental Management Bureau.
(Retrieved September 16, 2012 from

Clean Coal Technology

Clean coal technology is a collection of technologies being developed to reduce the environmental impact of coal energy generation. When coal is used as a fuel source, the gaseous emissions generated by the thermal decomposition of the coal include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and other chemical byproducts that vary depending of the type of the coal being used. These emissions have been established to have a negative impact on the environment, contributing to acid rain and climate change. As a result, clean coal technologies are being developed to remove or reduce pollutant emissions to the atmosphere.
Recent improvements in coal combustion technologies have led to wider acceptance of coal as a source of energy in the United States, Germany, Australia, Israel, China and in many parts of Europe for its affordability, efficiency and less impact to the environment.
(Retrieved September 16, 2012 from Clean Coal Technology (CCT) seeks to reduce harmful emissions in many ways. Among them is by employing Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFB), the coal technology that TSI will comply in building the coal-fired power plant. CFB enables efficient production of electricity while capturing harmful particulates (sulfur and carbon dioxide) with sorbents and precipitators to prevent them from entering the atmosphere. This is a new technology used to burn coal efficiently. Limestone is mixed in the process to help drastically reduce gas emissions and makes it easy for ash collection. This is the technical term for the new generation clean coal technology to generate power that meets stringent health, safety and environmental protection standards. CFB owes its popularity largely to the technology's combustion efficiency over conventional pulverized coal. Because it uses larger particles of coal that are more completely burned, CFB converts energy more efficiently and achieves equal or better heat transfer. (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from Hence, it can be drawn that CFB Clean Coal Technology’s effectiveness in producing “clean coal” is highly convincing.

CFB in Other Countries

FutureGen is a US government project announced by President George W. Bush in 2003; its initial plan involved the construction of a near zero-emissions coal-fueled power plant to produce hydrogen and electricity while using carbon capture and storage, a closely related Clean Coal Technology as CFB. JEA Northside Generating Station in Jacksonville, Florida is a major power plant, one of the three power plants owned and operated by JEA, Jacksonville's municipal utilities service. It produces electricity by burning coal and petroleum coke at Units 1 and 2, the largest circulating fluidized-bed combustors, (CFBs), in the world. Also, most coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania use CFB Clean Coal Technology. (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from


The proposed Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFB) Clean Coal Technology is widely used among Coal-Fired Power Plants, thus it displays potential in producing efficient power without compromising the status of the environment.
The proposed 300-MW circulating fluidized-bed coal-fired power plant in southern Davao is said to be safe, and will not harm the environment or the communities surrounding it. This project is in line with Aboitiz Power's corporate philosophy of providing safe, clean energy sources that benefit communities and protect the environment.
To ensure transparency, a multipartite monitoring team (MMT) composed of representatives from the community, local government unit, NGOs and the DENR will be composed to conduct periodic monitoring of the facility. This will ensure the power plant follows strict government guidelines.
A continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) will also be installed and connected to the Energy Management Bureau (EMB). The CEMS monitors real-time, 24/7 the emission levels of the power plant to ensure these do not exceed government standards. The monitoring data will be viewed by the EMB monitoring staff and power plant operator real time. (Retrieved September 16, 2012 from
Although the effectiveness of CFB is observed from other countries, further monitoring is recommended after the power plant is established, to ensure the validity of the said clean coal technology and not place the environment and the human lives at risk.

The Effectiveness of Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) Combustion Clean Coal Technology in the Proposed 2 x 150-Megawatt (MW) Clean Coal-Fired Power Plant in Davao City

(A Rapid Appraisal Approach)

Submitted by:
Manlangit, Julius Kristoffer E.
Sordilla, Hannah Bee Z.
Espinosa, Jim Dyordz A.

Submitted to:
Engr. Hernani Villasencio

September 21, 2012…...

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