Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Recent developments in circulating fluidized bed (CFB) once-through supercritical technology (OTSC) have enabled this technology to be offered as a utility-scale alternative competing head-to-head with pulverized fuel (PF) OTSC offerings. One clear example is the CFB supercritical unit at the Łagisza Power Plant in Poland, owned by PoludniowyKoncernEnergetyczny SA (PKE). This unit has now been in commercial operation for three full years, exhibiting very good performance, and has validated Foster Wheeler's performance model at this utility scale as well as for units in the 600 MWe and 800 MWe size ranges offering net efficiency of ~43 per cent (LHV basis). This operating unit has also proven the use of the world's first FW/BENSON-vertical-tube OTSC low mass flux technology. Since the Lagjsza original international tender specified OTSC PF technology, it is important to note that the alternative selection of CFB OTSC technology over conventional PF technology is of historic significance, not only for the validation of the CFB supercritical platform as a viable alternative to conventional PF technology, but it also positions the CFB OTSC with fuel flexibility for offering of sizes up to and including 800 MWe units. This paper explores the differences between CFB OTSC technology and standard PF OTSC in utility power generation. Selection criteria, fuel burning range in both technologies, and other selection drivers are discussed. Economic analysis of both technologies, based on existing cases, is also provided. Also discussed are the technical advantages and uses of each technology. Foster Wheeler has recently been awarded a contract for four units of CFB OTSC technology, which utilizes a 2 on 1 configuration of two 550 MWe CFB OTSC boilers on two single 1000 MWe turbines. Essentially this provides a fuel-flexible low-emissions alternative to a 2 x 1000 MWe solid fuel power block.
Keywords : OTSC CFB technology; OTSC PF technology; comparing PC and CFB economics; pulverized fuel; low mass flux; supercritical CFB; sub critical CFB; supercritical PF/PC; sub-critical PF/PC; PC versus CFB; high-efficiency steam cycle; fuel flexibility; power plant case; assumptions; fuel arbitrage; wide range of fuels; variations in fuel quality; low fuel quality; low fuel costs; low emissions.