Techniques to improve operational efficiency of power station (thermal)

Code No: TMS099 Price: Rs2600/- Category: Energy: Generation

Techniques to improve operational efficiency of power stations (thermal)


Power sector is an essential service and in the basis of industrialization and agriculture. It plays a vital role in the socio-economic development. Despite a massive growth in the installed capacity by 50 times from a meager 1362 MW in 1947 to 69,781 MW in 1992-93, the present installed capacity is not able to meet the energy demands of various sectors. There will be an overall energy deficit of 9 % and peaking storage of 20% by the end of 8th plan, even with a massive planned and power station managements to attach great importance to improving performance of existing power stations.

As the bulk of power generation, about 75%, is by thermal power stations, improvement in their performance would lead to increased availability and large scale energy conservation. Since the Plant Load Factor (PLF) has become a common yardstick for monitoring the availability of power stations, several efforts have been made to improve PLF. It has been estimated that one percentage point improvement in the overall PLF of thermal power sector will give additional generating capacity to the extent of 500 MW in a much shorter time and cost. However, the experience has shown that this alone has not been sufficient to bridge the gap between demand and supply. The PLF which over the years is being recognized as an index of plant performance, is not very appropriate as it itself depends upon the availability and besides other causes. The overall Availability Factor (OAF) will be a better index for comparing plant performance. Efforts are therefore required to secure operational efficiency of thermal power stations as well by identifying the various loss areas and taking appropriate actions, so as to maximize the power generation and loss make available the saved energy to the consumers.

Therefore, improving efficiency of these thermal power stations in addition to increasing their PLF has become the need of the hour to bring the cost and maximize the generation levels. With this objective in view, several actions have already been initiated by Ministry of Power (MOP) and other various agencies like CEA, NTPC, State Electricity Boards, CBIP etc. to improve the operating efficiency and PLF of thermal power stations. It is now required to document these efforts for the benefit of all the power stations in the country to achieve the desired results.

Considering the fact that the power sector is very large,, this survey has been confined to only Coal based thermal power stations. The survey involved, undertaking a literature survey of published material already available, a questionnaire survey, visiting selected power stations in different regions in the country and having discussions with experts in the field. This report gives details of the findings of the literature survey as well as the data analysis obtained through questionnaires sought from various power stations. The following are the major highlights of the techniques identified/ compiled for adoption in Indian thermal power stations.