Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Improving Power Generation Efficiency in India

India, like any other developing country, cannot overlook the pivotal role of the power sector in fuelling its overall development. All other sectors require a constant and reliable supply of electricity for the economy to function and grow. What sets the country apart though is the fact that it is the fifth largest producer and consumer of electricity with a capacity of 302 gigawatts (GW). From a meagre 1,743 megawatt hour (MWh) in 1950-51, the gross electricity generation boomed to 278,733 MWh in 2015, yet India is not a power surplus country even in the present coverage where around 1/4th of its total population is still deprived of access to electricity.

Currently, the estimated average gap between supply and demand of electricity (peak demand) is about 14%. The transmission and distribution losses are estimated between 26% and 32%. With rapid urbanization and industrialization, this gap is bound to rise fast. The distribution of power generation through different sources, however, is uneven. The thermal power contribution to this is around 63%, followed by hydropower contributing around 25%. The share of nuclear power is the smallest with 3%, and the power generation through renewable sources contributes the remaining 9%. The distribution of power generation amongst various states and regions in India is also highly uneven.

One of the ways to improve the efficiency of an existing thermal power plant can be by reducing this consumption by installing latest technology and infrastructure. For e.g. ensuring that the plants are equipped with the variable frequency drive so that the plant uses less electricity while running on half-capacity mode. Thirdly, the maintenance time and volume needs to be cut down.

There are several areas on which to focus for e.g. reducing flue gas heat losses, improving the air pre-heater seal, optimization of turbine steam parameters and operation, using boiler feedwater pump turbine and flexible heat regenerative technology together with maintaining high efficiency. Moreover, appropriate IT organizational structure should be developed along with management information services (MIS). There is also an urgent need for the development of IT modules to cater to various functional requirements such as computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), materials and stores management system (MSMS), operation plant performance management system (OPPMS), business planning module, finance and accounting (F&A) and human resource development modules etc.

Promotion of energy conservation and increased use of renewable energy are the twin planks of a sustainable energy supply. In an article, titled 'Biomass gasi?cation for decentralized power generation: The Indian perspective', the authors Buljit Buragohain, Pinakeswar Mahanta, Vijayanand S Moholkar of the Centre for Energy, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, claim that the vast potential of biomass power remains almost unused, and there is an urgent need of utilization of this resource through more efficient technologies such as biomass gasi?cation. Likewise, there is a need for implementing newer fields of technological studies such as energy systems engineering work to provide a methodological scientific framework to arrive at realistic integrated solutions to complex energy problems, by adopting a holistic, systems-based approach, especially at the decision making and planning stage.

Read the full article @ Economic Times

No comments: