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From Oil to Coal for the Bataan and Sucat Thermal Power Stations.

Clean Coal Combustion Technology Applications for the Philippine Power Industry :
A Comparison of the Conversion Options for the Bataan and Sucat Thermal Power Stations

Dr. Michael Clarke, CPEng., FIEAust., MAusIMM

John Keefe BS/CE, M/ASCE, A/NSPE


This document is primarily a 'Comparison Summary' of two proposals that assessed at the feasibility of converting the Bataan and Sucat power stations to coal firing, using Clean Coal Combustion Technologies.

Both BATAAN and SUCAT are characterised by sharing the following traits;

· The stations were designed to burn oil directly as a boiler fuel,

· The power stations are of late sixties and early seventies vintage, and were either operational or under construction before the first oil crisis - 1973/4,

· They have thermal efficiencies significantly lower than typical modern coal fired units (although, in fact, in 1975 they would have surpassed coal
plant performance),

· All of the turbine-generators are of good manufacture, but would need major overhauls to bring them to near zero hour condition (some reconstruction of the high pressure turbine sections could be undertaken to improve performance),

· Both units are of a size and disposition such that they could continue to make a valuable contribution to the Luzon power grid,

· Neither power station has any gas cleaning apparatus (not required for such plants when constructed) and thus they produce an unacceptable particulate load in the emissions, and

· Through the burning of high sulphur oil (probably not envisaged during design) the units produce totally unacceptably high sulphur emissions,

- A point-by-point summary is presented in a table below.

Environmental Advantage

The two thermal power plants that at the present time are totally unable to meet acceptable modern "state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly" gas emission or operational standards will be recommissioned as model modern environmentally sound operations.

The Position of Bataan and Sucat Thermal Power Plants in the Present and Future Luzon (Philippine) Power Supply

Bataan is presently used as a intermediate load station. It operates with significant 'Economy Shutdown Hours' and reduced average load - the average load being 162 MW(e). In 1997 it can supply around 4% of the effective Luzon capacity. On refurbishment/conversion (say in 1999) it would supply around the same percentage capacity operating as a base load station, given that its output increased to a near maximum continuous rating (MCR) capacity, and with the installation of new plant and the decommissioning of some older plant in the Luzon grid.

Sucat is presently used as a base/intermediate load station. It operates with a reduced load that is dictated by problems with its number 4 turbine-generator. In 1997 it can supply around 11% of the effective Luzon capacity. On refurbishment/conversion (say in 2003/5) it would supply around the 8-9% as a base load station, given its output increased to a near MCR capacity and with planned changes to the grid.

Costs and Income Comparison (after conversion)

Factor Bataan Sucap
Budget Capital Cost $US 102m $US 552m
Estimated Yearly Cost $US 67m $US 194m
Calculated Plant Output 1.577 TWh 5.957 TWh
Power Cost - year 1 US4.4¢/kWh, P 1.28/kWh US4.8¢/kWh, P 1.39/kWh
Power Cost - year 10/15 US2.9¢/kWh, P 0.84/kWh US3.6¢/kWh, P 1.04/kWh

Conversion Rate $US = P29 (Aug. 1997) TWh = terawatt-hour

The cost of power produced after refurbishment/conversion is competitive with the project costs of other new thermal plant. It does require fuel importation, but the use of the plant as coal fired units could be viewed as;

1. a fuel diversification measure, and

2. as a conservation exercise in the use of the prospective valuable indigenous natural gas resource.

Both refurbished plants will be able to burn a very wide variety of coals in Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion (CFBC) units and still reach maximum continuous performance and efficiency. The coals could be sourced from the Philippines, ASEAN (Indonesian or Malaysian) reserves, or other regional resources (Australian, The Russian Far-East, or Chinese). The ability to successfully use coals of widely differing specifications will allow for opportunity coal purchasing (unlike the purchasing of coal for new PF units), where the most economical fuel prices will be achieved.

Bataan and Sucat TPP Conversion and Repowering Comparison

EASE OF CONVERSION Relatively easy. Some imbalance in generator mix, versus combustor sizes. Awkward, due to site restrictions. The plant would need to be taken out of service for a considerable period for the repowering.
POSITIVE ASPECTS The conversion of this station could provide a better generation mix in the Bataan region. Its conversion to coal would negate the requirement to build the third block at the ABB Limay CCGT Plant. The conversion of this station would avoid the need for an additional new thermal station after 2005. Being adjacent to the main load centre, the station forms a useful base and balancing load function.
OTHER ASPECTS Coal and ash would need to be transported by barge across Manila Bay. A major revenue source could be created from manufacturing bricks and blocks from the station's ash. Floods to one metre each year. Some difficulties may be experienced with environmental groups concerned with Laguna de Bay, and with squatters occupying sections of the pipeline right-of-way.
TIMING AND SCHEDULING The conversion could be achieved in 24-36 months; including the construction of fuel and materials handling facilities. No major difficulties with total power supply would be expected if the station was taken out of service for that period. Power barges could supply Bataan's present output as an interim measure. A period of 48 months would be required to convert the plant. Major coal handling infrastructure would need to be installed at Batangas. Since the site is 'tight', the entire plant would be out of service for the construction period. It is suggested that site work not commence until Sual A and Masinloc B are commissioned, say 1999/2000.
FUELLING OPTIONS Coal presented in a crushed form suitable for CFBC combustion would be supplied by barge from another station's coal terminal; possibly from the Calaca or Pagbilao coal terminals. Preferentially as slurried coal from Batangas by the existing or a new 'piggy-backed' pipeline. If the PNR was to be used, the Batangas Branch Line would need to be reconstructed; a costly project.
ECONOMIC FACTORS and FINANCING OPTIONS As part of one of the 'Gencos' that are being offered for sale, Bataan offers good prospects for repowering and life extension. The necessity for coal storage would require the acquisition and use of adjacent land. The Philippine Group that has an interest in the existing pipeline and its right-of-way, and who owns the major distribution network, would need to have a major stake in the ownership, operation and management of the plant.

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