Coal remains a vital part of the energy mix in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, it makes up 50% of the fuel mix, and will carry on to play a greater role in the foreseeable future.
Ultrasupercritical technology is today's standard bearer for coal power plants across the globe. Operating at temperatures and pressures above the critical point of its predecessors, the combustion process within an ultrasupercritical boiler bypasses the need for a conventional drum system, converting water directly into steam that turn the turbines to generate electricity. Together with the state-of-the-art controls for combustion and stronger materials needed to support the heightened temperature and pressure, ultrasupercrititcal coal plants are capable of generating power at a higher efficiency rate with significantly reduced emissions and related operational costs.
To this end, GE Power is currently leading the way in Southeast Asia, following the successful handing over of the 1,000MW Manjung 4 Ultrasupercritical Power Plant to TNB Janamanjung recently. Not only is Manjung 4 Malaysia's – and the region's – single largest ultrasupercritical unit. It is also Southeast Asia's most efficient coal-based plant achieving almost 40% efficiency rate, surpassing the global average of 33%.
Meanwhile, Manjung 4's cutting-edge environmental controls enable it to generate dependable power with much lower emissions than earlier plants (Manjung 1, 2 and 3), at levels which fully comply with World Bank standards. For instance, with GE's Seawater Flue Gas Desulfurisation (FGD) system, Manjung 4 significantly reduces SO2 emissions to that of 200mg/Nm3, which is more than 3x below the World Bank requirements of 750mg/Nm3.
With these technologies, it comes as no surprise that this jewel of coal power plants in Asia has bagged the Gold Award under the ''Coal Power Project of the Year'' category at the Asian Power Awards 2015. It has since exceeded performance projections to achieve 94.5% availability upon commencing operations in that same year, which allowed TNB Janamanjung to deliver full base load to the grid. Today, Manjung 4 is capable of powering almost two million households and, together with Manjung 1, 2 and 3, contribute more than 20% of the national power network in Peninsula Malaysia.
Aiming to deliver more value to its customers, GE continues to focus on key technologies to further improve efficiency and profitability of coal power plants. By integrating both mechanical and digital industrial platform capabilities, GE is now in a position to offer advanced ultrasupercritical technology, bringing the coal power plant industry ever closer to meeting the challenge of attaining the 50% efficiency benchmark. Amongst others, the enhanced technology is projected to heighten efficiency rates by an additional 1.5%, lessen emissions by another 3%, and adding approximately $50million USD to its customers' NPV (Net Present Value) through reduced operational and lifecycle costs.
Indeed, as GE and its partners continue in their efforts towards full plant optimisation, the coal power plant industry is set to play an increasingly crucial role in meeting Malaysia's demands for reliable and affordable power for the masses – all whilst wholly complying with national and global environmental standards and requirements.