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Why is Precision Coal Blending Required?

Power plants are designed and optimized to operate using specific compliant coal for each boiler, which ensures high plant performance and environmental compliance with relevant regulations.

Most power plant boilers are designed for bituminous coal with low to medium moisture, medium to high volatile matter and, within a reasonable calorific value range (“compliant coal”). However, an increasing portion of coal reserves are high moisture, lower calorific value, moderately high ash, and high sulphur non-compliant coals, which cannot be effectively used in power generation and other industries. Combustion of coal without specifically matching it to the power plant's boiler design is the major reason for serious inefficienscie in coal combustion worldwide. This results in the reduction of electrical output, and more coal consumption per unit of output.

As world reserves of compliant coal are rapidly exhausted, the most effective solution is to optimize the utilization of non-compliant coal. CBF precision coal blending provides an answer.

The most prevalent system of coal blending in China involves on the ground blending (“stockpile blending”), i.e. stacking layers of coals with different qualities on top of one another and accessing the stacked pile on a vertical basis. This method is time-consuming and results in inconsistent mix and quality. It only has reasonable results when the types of coal being blended are reasonably close in specification.

Petrocom CBF technology is the same technology that has been successfully operating in Europe since 1994. CBF's robust design results in a highly reliable system which is not dependent on site or weather conditions. Through precision analysis and control, this system allows great flexibility in its ability to blend several non-compliant and dissimilar coals simultaneously. The end product is a compliant and consistent quality coal.

CBF is a cost-effective way to improve coal quality and environmental performance of power plants. The benefits of CBF coal include:

Consistent Coal Quality

Petrocom‘s proprietary software enables up to 10 different types of coal to be blended using a computerized process, which gives high predictability of blending outcome. The end product is evenly blended, stable, tailored to boiler specifications and consistent.

Consistent Coal Quality

A conservative estimate is that approximately 20% of power plants are not able to achieve design output, due to difficulty in consistently sourcing coal with qualities which meet their boiler design requirements. These power plants suffer from an approximate 10% reduction in output capacity, or a 2% reduction in output from the overall coal-fired power industry. This lost plant output capacity can be restored by supplying compliant coal of consistent quality, using Petrocom's CBFs. This results in a reduced requirement for overall system capacity additions.

Cost Savings

The CBF is able to blend a wide range of coals. This allows Petrocom to buy coals with the lowest prices available in the market within the constraints of the fuel specifications of the power plants, resulting in cost savings without deterioration in thermal performance of the boiler. According to Petrocom's calculation, on a reduction per ton of pollutant basis, wind power is 5 times more expensive, while solar is a prohibitive 21 times more expensive than CBF.

By taking CBF coal, power plants can eliminate the cost of an in-situ blending operation. The burning of compliant coal with consistent quality also enables more efficient Flue Gas Desulfurization operations, which result in cost savings for power plants. Increased combustion efficiency also reduces the overall costs in new plants for power generation, as less fuel is needed.

Environmentally Friendly

Compared to the non-compliant coal being used, CBF coal could result in an average 50% SO2 and fly ash reduction as low sulphur and low ash coal is used as one ingredient. This reduces acid rain and the release of heavy metals respectively.

As coal combustion efficiency is increased by burning CBF coal, less fuel is needed. This will result in a reduction of emission pollutants including greenhouse gases.

Extends Life of Coal Reserves

Petrocom allows dissimilar coals to be blended, thereby forming a compliant coal of consistent quality. By producing compliant coal using two or more non-compliant, and hence non-marketable coals, existing coal resources can be fully utilized. This extends the life of coal reserves.

Stabilizes Market

Petrocom CBF is quickly scalable, with the ability to rapidly expand capacity to economically service thousands of megawatts in a very short period of time. This scalability allows for the mass production of consistent quality coal, making it readily available to the power industry throughout the year. This consistency of quality and supply will exert a very stabilizing influence on coal markets and pricing in general, with the added benefits of available, stable power produced using clean coal technology. The coal markets will become less sensitive to the peak seasons of coal demand; and the price and supply imbalance caused by buyers hoarding coal will be mitigated.

The following illustrations, applicable worldwide, show the marked effect that CBF has on any potential coal market:

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