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Clean technology makes coal plants viable Race to offset power crisis in 2016

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:00 AM    Views : 467by:Rey Anthony H. Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Nov 26 (PIA) -- Opposition to coal as a fuel to source out the much needed energy to address the country's growing power needs can rest easy as recent use of clean technology makes emissions no longer hazardous.

In a recent media tour to the Toledo Power Plant of the Cebu Energy Development Corporation (CEDC), media were briefed on the plant's generation capacity of 246 megawatts of power through a new technology called Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) coal-fired power plant of three units each with an output of 82 megawatts, said Vasco Teofilo Saldana, engineer and plant operations manager.

Saldana said the CFB technology has addressed the issues and concerns raised over old coal-fired power plants pointing out that while the old perception of coal is dust and black smoke, the CFB incorporates in its process an electrostatic precipitator that can collect 99.9 percent of solid particulates from coal, thus eliminating the dust and black smoke.

Mae Melchor, CEDC communications officer during the media briefing on November 21 revealed that coal is still by far the cheapest fuel available to artificially produce thermal energy which prompted scientists to pursue the development of technologies that make use of clean-coal technologies in coal-fired power plants.

On coal as the culprit allegedly associated with acid rain, Melchor explained that while sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide indeed cause acid rain, the new technology allows limestone to be injected in sulfur dioxide which causes a chemical reaction converting sulfur into calcium sulfate, which can now be used as base for cement production.

As for nitrous oxide, Saldana said its production is a result of extremely high combustion processes and the CFB does not use extreme heat so that nitrous oxide is reduced to negligible levels.

Saldana also assuaged fears that coal ash-carrying heavy pollutants can leach into aquifers as water systems is consistently being monitored and the gathering of monitoring samples indicate that the coal ash which the plant stores in its waste facility is way below the standards set by the government's environment agency.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said questions raised about the use of coal in producing thermal energy to propel the turbines to generate power have mainly been focused on dust, carbon emissions and nitrous oxide.

The said past experiences of coal-fired power plants show communities eternally shrouded in thick smoke, a carpet of dust, dangerous carbon and nitrous oxide emissions as well as smokestacks eternally belching, according to DOE-Visayas officials.

Energy officials here said the country has renewable energy (RE) development in its crosshairs but that RE takes a long time to develop into a commercially viable option, or would need a huge investment to generate enough to be viable.

According to Rey Maleza, engineer-supervisor of the Energy Industrial Management Division of the DOE-Visayas, 150MW power capacity is needed by 2015 in the Visayas with the surging investments in the region while 50MW new capacity is needed starting 2016 to meet the (increasing) demand and required (power) reserve. (FCR/RHAC-PIA 7, Bohol)

Source:http://www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?menu=&;pdp=1&article=1101353658488

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