Electrical engineering service provider and boiler manufacturer GE Steam Powered Systems president Andreas Lusch announced the company’s deal with construction and engineering company China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) to supply two 330 MW boilers to Pakistan power producer Engro Powergen Thar for the Thar Block II power plant – CMEC’s joint venture with Pakistan companies.
Lusch reports that the deal will support Pakistan’s move to use its ample coal reserves in the Thar desert to meet power generation needs, spur economic development and bring energy security to the country.
He states that Pakistan relies heavily on imported crude oil, diesel and natural gas, with very limited energy coming from coal-fired power plants. He explains that the Thar II project supports the Pakistan government’s energy independence drive as it moves to increase domestic coal use.
Through GE’s recent acquisition of power generation service and equipment provider Alstom Power, Lusch says that two GE circulating fluidised-bed (CFB) boilers will help deliver a total of 660 MW to Pakistan, while burning the local high-moisture lignite reserves of the Thar field.
He boasts that the CFB boilers operate at a low combustion temperature to minimise the amount of nitrogen oxides released, providing coal-rich markets with the opportunity to reduce emissions and operating costs, while increasing output.
CMEC, along with three other companies, is jointly developing the Thar Block II plant, states Lusch, adding that this represents the growing cooperation along the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Lusch reports that a syndicate led by China Development Bank under the auspices of Sinosure – China’s official export credit agency – participates in financing the project, with the support of Pakistani local governments.
The Thar Block II power plant will be powered by coal from the Thar coalfield, which is the country’s first coal-fired project using Pakistan Thar lignite, he explains.
Commenting on the scope of the company’s operations, Lusch states that GE’s manufacturing base in Wuhan, China, is the company’s largest boiler manufacturing facility, with one-third of the products exported from the facility. He adds that it has the capacity to produce large CFB boilers and other high-efficiency boilers in the 600 MW to 1 000 MW range.
The CPEC is a major development megaproject which will connect Port Gwadar, in southern Pakistan, to Xinjiang, China’s north-western autonomous region, through transportation and energy networks, Lusch reports. He adds that this economic corridor is a major priority for both the governments of China and Pakistan and is an extension of China’s proposed twenty-first-century Silk Road initiative.
In conclusion, Lusch says: “The company is very proud to contribute to this significant project for the CPEC, with the strategic importance of reliable use of local Pakistan lignite for power generation, while showcasing high-quality and highly competitive boiler technology to customers and lenders. “With our leading technology and global know-how, we are com- mitted to offering optimised and reliable solutions to customers and supporting long-term development of local energy industries and economies.”