Thermal power sector needs to save water, feel experts

Experts suggested various good practices and possible solutions to reduce thermal sectors dependence on water

By Kundan Pandey
Last Updated: Friday 18 March 2016
Credit: Flickr
Credit: Flickr Credit: Flickr

Dependence on coal for energy also puts a stress on a country's water resources. In India, the thermal sector consumes double the water than what is consumed in China for producing the same unit of power. Experts at the last session of Day 1 of CSE's International Coal Conference suggested some good practices and possible solutions to reduce the thermal sector's dependency on water.

Barbara Schreiner, Executive Director of the Pegasys Institute in South Africa talked about water allocation and policies to promote efficiency based on South Africa's experience. She said that two per cent of water went into power generation which was significant. And there are projections that there would be a net deficit of 2.7 billion cubic meters by 2030.

South Africa has a National Development Plan (NDP) which says that economic growth should be environmentally sustainable and water conservation must be a priority to ensure sufficient water to support equitable economic growth and achievement of national developmental goals.

For that, all sectors of the economy need to prioritise water conservation in development plans as per the NDP.

Schreiner said that according to the National Water Act, 1998, there was a provision for the establishment of a National Water Resources Strategy—which is reviewed every five years. She emphasised that national policies require water use efficiency.

Kalyan Bhattacharya, Vice President—E & BD, Paharpur Cooling Towers Ltd, Kolkata, India, highlighted the area where water was needed in thermal power plants—Cooling water system (Condenser & ACW), ash handling system, power cycle make up, coal dust suppression system, service water system, potable water system etc.

Plant water consumption is governed by a number of factors such as quality of raw water, type of condenser cooling system, quality of coal, ash utilisation, type of ash disposal system, waste water management aspects etc.

He talked about water cooling systems which are in practice in India. They include cooling tower or wet cooling, air cooled condenser or dry cooling, natural and induced draught cooling towers. To save water, he suggested a shift from existing coolers towards air cooled condensers .

Ashis Saha, General Manager of Budge Budge Generating Station, CESC Limited water said that over the years we have reduced water consumption to 2.23 litres per kilowatt hour. He highlighted the efforts which results in saving water.

Naushaad Haripersad, Manager from Clean Coal Technologies, ESKOM based in South Africa said that Eskom is a large consumer of fresh water in South Africa, accounting for approximately 2-3 per cent of the country’s total water consumption annually.

He highlighted the strategy that his organisation followed to save water, saying that it targeted reducing fresh water usage and eliminating liquid effluent discharge to avoid impacting water resources through effective water management processes and the use of mine water.

Farid Mohammad, from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, talked about the constitutional safeguards to natural resources. He said that every person in Indonesia had the rights to enjoy a good, clean and healthy environment.  The Indonesian Constitution and Regulations guarantee such rights.

For establishing thermal power plants, there were few steps one needed to follow in Indonesia. It includes spatial planning, environment impact assessment and environment permit.

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