Tuesday 28 May 2024
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Ultra-Super-Critical. Yes, it is quite a mouthful. It sounds impressive, because it is. Ultrasupercritical technology is the current gold standard for coal-fired plants in the world, and GE’s market-leading technology underpins the Manjung 4 power plant.

Located in Perak, Manjung 4 is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. This 1,000 MW ultrasupercritical plant bends the laws of physics by taking steam to over 600 degrees Celsius and 4,000 psi of pressure to spin turbines that generate electricity.

Consuming over 10,000 tonnes of coal per day, Manjung 4 is incredibly flexible as it can generate energy using 15 different coals with differing characteristics. This feature comes with some trade-offs in efficiency as compared to other ultrasupercritical plants, but Manjung 4 still achieves nearly 40% efficiency, which is 14% more power per metric tonne of coal burned in Manjung 1, 2, and 3.

The four main circuits of Manjung 4—Coal and Ash, Air and Gas, Feed Water and Steam, and Cooling Water Circuits—are all optimised for operational flexibility, high performance, and efficiency. A vast array of hardware, sensors, and systems are integrated with the Alspa® Series 6 platform to enable engineers to control Manjung 4. This platform simplifies operations and maintenance and contributes to lower total lifecycle costs of this US$1.5 billion plant.

At the heart of the plant, coal is fed into the combustion chamber of the boiler. The plant can burn either bituminous or subbituminous coals with its unique TFS 2000® firing system. Water is boiled in the 1000 MWe USC two-pass boiler that generates steam, whilst hot exhaust gases and ash are channelled into the aforementioned circuits.

The steam spins the 1000 MWe STF100 steam turbine, which converts thermal energy into mechanical energy. The turbines are linked to an electric generator, the two-pole GIGATOP turbogenerator, to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy, which is then fed to the main grid through a network of transformers and, subsequently, high voltage transmission lines that carry this energy across the peninsula to homes, offices, and factories.

Within the Manjung complex, the seawater flue gas desulfurization system utilises seawater to cool the plant and absorb sulphur dioxide emissions. The water exiting the plant is treated to increase its oxygen content before it flows out into the Straits of Malacca. This process results in a slight increase in seawater’s sulphate content of the seawater and a negligible lowering of its pH level, which puts it well within environmental standards and does not harm our environment.

Atmospheric monitors are installed at various locations within the plant, as well as one several miles away, to ensure that it does not pollute the environment with particulates. With the Alstom Optipulse pulse-jet fabric filter system in place, Manjung 4 keeps particulate emissions below 50 mg/Nm3.

Manjung 4 represents the latest step in the evolution of coal-powered plants and gives GE the impetus to push the boundaries of efficiency even further. Already, GE engineers are looking into bringing steam temperatures to 700 degrees Celsius. Who knows what the future holds for power generation across the world—and Malaysia?

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