Clean Coal and Biomass Cogeneration Plant by Tuas Power: A Chronology
This is a chronology of the news and responses on Tuas Power’s clean coal and biomass cogeneration plant.
14 Mar 08 – Tuas Power sold to China Huaneng Group (Temasek successfully completes divestment of Tuas Power by Temasek Holdings)
27 Mar 08 – Tuas Power announced that it is looking at building a $2 billion coal-fired plant (Tuas Power may build $2b coal-fired plant by Business Times)
2 Apr 08 – We think it is highly possible that Tuas Power would take the coal route and expressed our concerns (Red dot goes black? by AsiaIsGreen)
26 Sep 08 – Tuas Power announced plans to build a $2 billion steam and electricity production plant to run on clean coal and biomass on Jurong Island (Tuas Power to build $2b ‘clean’ plant by Straits Times)
29 Sep 08 – We wrote a letter to the Straits Times to express our concerns about the use of coal by Tuas Power (Tuas Power is building Singapore’s first ‘clean coal’ power plant by AsiaIsGreen)
4 Oct 08 – A short edited version of our letter was published in the Straits Times Forum
15 Oct 08 – Tuas Power, National Environment Agency (NEA) and Energy Market Authority (EMA) replied to our letter (Tuas ‘clean’ coal plant balances cost and green concerns)
15 Oct 08 – We wrote a reply letter to the Straits Times
16 Oct 08 – We published the reply letter (Update on Tuas Power’s clean coal plant by AsiaIsGreen)
20 Oct 08 – We are told that Straits Times will not be publishing our reply letter
20 Oct 08 – We wrote an email to NEA, EMA and Tuas Power
1 Nov 08 – NEA and EMA replied to our email
4 Nov 08 – We published our email and the response by NEA and EMA (Update on Tuas Power’s clean coal plant (part 2) by AsiaIsGreen)
6 Jan 09 – Tuas Power to delay plans for the clean coal/biomass plant by 6-12 months (Projects melt, Jurong Island feels the heat by Business Times)
4 Nov 09 – Tuas Power decided to go ahead with building the clean coal/biomass cogeneration plant on Jurong Island (Stalled $2b plant set to steam ahead by Business Times)
7 Nov 09 – We sent an email to Tuas Power with some questions to clarify details in the Business Times article
11 Nov 09 – Official ground-breaking of the clean coal/biomass cogeneration plant, which will be completed in 2 phases – part of the plant ready by 2012 and the rest by 2014 (Construction of clean coal/biomass plant on Jurong Island begins)
8 Dec 09 – We received Tuas Power’s reply to our email questions via Ogilvy, their PR representative
Here’s the full list of our questions and Tuas Power’s answers (the quotes refer to the Business Times article):
1) Does the clean coal/biomass plant have a 2,670-MW-capacity?
The Biomass Clean Coal plant will generate 160 MW of electricity, out of which 60MW will be consumed internally.
2) Does the plant use 80% coal and 20% biomass? What is the estimated annual tonnes of coal and biomass used?
Yes. The amount of coal and biomass used (in tonnes) depends on the calorific value of the specific fuel.
3) What is the biomass used? Where is it sourced from?
We will be using palm kernel shells and woodchips. These will be sourced locally as well as from neighbouring regions.
4) Is the coal sourced from Indonesia?
The coal will be sourced from the neighbouring countries in the region.
5) “The ‘top’ ash generated will be reused, while ‘bottom’ ash will be recycled into value-added products such as construction materials.” What would the top ash be reused for? What construction materials are the bottom ash recycled into and who is the company doing the recycling?
The top ash that is generated can be reused as a cement substitute whereas the bottom ash can be recycled into construction materials such as aggregates, bricks and pavers. One of our subsidiaries, NewEarth Singapore, is capable of recycling the ash.
6) “Meanwhile, the carbon-neutral biomass part of Tuas Power’s cogen project will help reduce the CO2 emissions to a level comparable to that of an oil-fired plant.” What is the carbon emission per unit of electricity generation for Tuas Power’s clean coal/biomass plant, and how does it compare to a gas-fired plant?
The Biomass Clean Coal plant is a cogeneration plant that uses Circulating Fluidised Bed Technology to produce electricity and steam. It provides an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to utility supply, therefore bolstering Singapore’s energy security by further diversifying its energy mix.
7) “Besides, the plant will enjoy 70 per cent operational efficiency versus the 50 per cent efficiency level of today’s combined cycle gas turbine plants. This means the Tuas Power plant will use less resources to produce the same unit of electricity, leading to less carbon emission.” What is the technology used by the clean coal/biomass plant, which makes it more efficient than a combined cycle gas turbine plant? The 50% efficiency of the combined cycle gas turbine plant is based on which fuel source: oil, gas or coal?
In order to achieve higher plant efficiency, the BMCC cogeneration plant is equipped with 3 units of steam turbine-generators to step down high-pressure steam to medium and low-pressure steam suitable for users’ applications. One unit of condensing turbine-generator will produce about 100MW of electricity that will be exported to the Grid. The other 2 units of back pressure turbine-generators, which are embedded generators producing about 60MW of electricity for TMUC’s own use, supplying electricity to TMUC’s other facilities, such as its desalination plant, demineralised water treatment plant and industrial wastewater treatment plant.
The 50% efficiency of the combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant refers to a plant based on gas as fuel.
8) “China Huaneng has also embarked on a couple of cutting-edge carbon-capture pilot plants back in China, and may apply the technology here in future.” When is the timeline, if any, to apply carbon capture technology, and where would the carbon be stored?
We have no plans to apply this technology in Singapore at this point in time. Carbon capture storage technology is still being developed, and we may explore the viability of its application in the future.
9) Has Tuas Power undertaken an environmental impact assessment or life cycle analysis of the clean coal/biomass plant from coal mining, biomass harvesting, coal and biomass delivery, combustion to disposal/recycling?
The Company submitted the Pollution Control Study to the National Environment Agency, which had subsequently granted the approval for the project.
10) Has Tuas Power consulted its stakeholders including potential customers, NGOs and the public on the use of coal and the higher carbon emissions?
Prior to the commencement of the project, consultations with various stakeholders were held.
What are your thoughts?
Do you support the use of clean coal for our energy needs? Is clean coal really clean? Is Tuas Power guilty of greenwashing? We leave it to you to decide.
Image credit: Tuas Power