Latest steam technology helps deliver more reliable power for Pakistan

Latest steam technology helps deliver more reliable power for Pakistan

September 12, 2019 at 01:09pm

Pakistan, the world’s sixth-most populous country with more than 210 million people, is on a continuous socio-economic growth journey, and while the growth of the country’s population and industries proceeded much faster than the increase of power supply, Pakistan has come a long way to address the issue. New power plants like the one at Thar 2, the first that runs on local lignite using GE’s advanced boiler technology, or the gas-fired Bhikki, Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah that are using GE’s record-winning HA technology, are adding gigawatts of power, and more and more renewable energy projects are entering the grid.

But to fully address the issue, Pakistan also needs to maximize the value of existing assets by extending their lifetime and increasing their output and efficiency.

One of these assets is the 1,292 MW Hub Power Plant located in the remote Balochistan province, which is the nation’s first and largest independent power plant (IPP). Known as the country’s most efficient steam power facility, the plant has stood the test of time by providing 10 per cent of Pakistan’s power needs over the last two decades.

To further extend its life-cycle while enhancing the plant’s efficiency, retrofit works to replace the old other OEM turbine rotor and inner cylinder assemblies of Units 3 and 4 with GE equipment were set in motion end of 2018. Installations in Unit 4 were completed by GE in 105 days accounting for an increase  in heat rate by over 3.5 per cent. While these results may already sound great, the GE team took that as a challenge to do even better on Unit 3. Building on the learnings of Unit 4, work on Unit 3 was concluded in just 83 days, enabling the customer to start operations four days earlier and increasing the heat rate by an even more impressive 4.6 per cent.

“We have received excellent feedback from Hubco for the retrofit work executed. Our customer was particularly impressed by the advanced GE technology that enables tangible improvements, and the team’s commitment to getting the job done,” says Nizami Allahbakhsh, Senior Customer Service Manager in Pakistan. “Starting from examining the old non-GE OEM machinery to identifying and installing the right GE equipment, it was all hands on deck. As a result, we were able to significantly improve the heat rate and efficiency of both machines, which resulted in an increase of the overall plant efficiency.”

Beyond the efficacy indicators, the increase of the heat rate translated to better utilization of Residual Fuel Oil (RFO), paving the way for big cost savings. Now that the new GE machines are installed, for every hour Hubco runs the machine, more than 3.5 percent of fuel is being saved, which adds up to about USD $30,000 per day – a critical consideration especially at a time when Pakistan is facing a foreign currency crunch. And, of course, lower fuel consumption also translates into a lower carbon footprint. Adding to the benefits is the 20 years added to the plant life-cycle by GE, allowing Hubco a higher return on investment.

But in the end, there is another driving force behind these efforts: improving the lives of people of Balochistan. The extended life-time also means more years of reliable power for the remote province, which opens doors to better infrastructure in the form of roads, hospitals as well as something as basic as clean drinking water. This is the true power of power.

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