Energy Bangla

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Dhaka Sunday,  May 29, 2022

IS IT A REALITY OR JUST A MYTH?

Md. Sahidujjaman, Geologist

Is it a myth or Reality to produce 11,250 MW electricity from Domestic or indigenous coal in

Bangladesh? In a news caption ‘Bangladesh eyes 2,000 MW more by 2018’ published on

‘The Daily Star’ March 07, 2015 has shown the 2030: The Power Plans. The Power Plans

include about 11,250 MW electricity generations from Domestic Coal. Is it possible or not?

The answer would come next. Now I want to discuss about some related aspects of energy

situation and domestic coal in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is plagued with energy crisis. In respect of energy consumption, the nation ranks

the third lowest in Asia. The per capita energy consumption is 321 Kilowatt per hour.

Bangladesh needs energy for its survival and/or sustainable development. All the five basic

needs of mankind depend on energy security. The major source of commercial energy

production in the country is the natural gas and it is depleting very fast. Sector experts opine

that there will not be enough natural gas to ensure the existing power generation by the end of

next decade. It is expected that coal may be the main source of energy generation in

Bangladesh in near future. As the natural gas is depleting very fast, the alternative source of

energy be the coal.

Bangladesh till now has five coal fields in the country having about 3 billion tons of coal. It is

to mention here that the proved reserves of coal deposits in Jamalganj Coal Field range from

1,053 to 1,563 million metric tons (MMT), in Barapukuria Coal Field of 389 MMT, in

Phulbari Coal Field of 572 MMT, Khalaspir Coal Field of 142 MMT in an area of 2.52

square kilometres with probable deposit of 685 MMT and the Dighipara Coal Field by four

holes drilled in an area of 1.25 square kilometres may have deposit of about 105 MMT with

the expectation of having probable coal deposits of 600 MMT. Among the five coal fields,

only the Barapukuria Coal Field is under operation using the conventional “Underground

Long Wall Mining” method and starting a feasibility study for extension of existing

underground mining operation of Barapukuria coal mine towards the southern and the

northern side of the basin without interruption of the present production. Bangladesh has

gathered experience on coal mining operations. The Government has taken revolutionary

steps for the extraction of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) gas from Jamalganj coal if there is any.

The Phulbari Coal Field in Dinajpur District is in shallow depth and is waiting for open pit

extraction. The Dighipara coal filed in Dinajpur District is yet to be explored fully but that

and another coal field in Khalaspir area is in Rangpur District stands at medium depth.

To produce 11,250 MW electricity from Domestic or indigenous coal, we have to calculate

roughly how much coal would be extracted per year.

We need 11,250 MW of Power. P=11,250 MW. As coal is used for electricity generation P

comes from heat energy.

P=11,250 x 1000000W= 11,250 x 1000000 Joules/sec= 2688817.5 kcal/sec (P=Q/t) [1 Jule =

0.000239006 Kilo calories].

To generate this amount of heat energy we are to be using Thermal Power Plants. Let the

efficiency of a typical supercritical unit has efficiency of 42%. A typical supercritical unit

operating at 242 bar main steam pressure with 565°C temperature and 593°C reheat steam

temperature yields a power plant efficiency of 42%. Such supercritical (SC) boiler is

available in Japan and Europe up to 1000 MW.  A typical ultra supercritical (USC) unit, a

later version, working at pressure 300 bar with 600°C/600°C steam can give net efficiency of

46%. (K. M. Mahbubur Rahman; Senior Mechanical Engineer- “Energy Saving By

Improving Efficiency — Review on Rampal & Barapukuria Coal Based Power Plants”).

Actual Q=2688817.5/0.42= 6401946.43 kcal. Therefore we need to produce 6401946.43 kcal

energy per second.

The amount of coal required depends upon the type of coal (calorific value of the burned

coal) used. Let’s assume the plant would use the indigenous coal having calorific value of

6,072 Kcal/Kg (Approx).

Amount of coal we need per second=6401946.43 Kcal/6,072 Kcal/Kg= 1,054.34 Kg.

For a load of 11,250 MW for 1 year we need 1,054.34 x 365 x 24 x 3600/ (1,000,000×1000)

= 33.25 MMT/year.

Is it possible to produce coal 33.25 MMT/year? How we can produce coal 33.25 MMT/year

where our country is now producing only 1 MMT/year from Barapukuria underground coal

mine. No further mine has been developed till now. To implement this power plan we need

about 33 mine like Barapukuria coal mine producing 1 MMT/year of coal. The protagonists

in Bangladesh are always shouted for not to extract coal against various issues. So that

production of 11,250 MW electricity from Domestic or indigenous coal seems to be a myth.

But I think it is a paradox. It would be possible if the energy security be the first issue which

will secure the food security and others. I don’t know what is the calculation for

implementing the power plan of producing 11,250 MW electricity from Domestic or

indigenous coal. But I assumed that

1. The Khasashpir Coal Mine Project has been targeted to extract 4 MMT coal per year.

2. The Dighipara Coal Mine Project would have been targeted to extract 4 MMT coal

per year.

3. The Phulbari Coal Project has been targeted to extract 15 MMT per year.

4. If the Barapukuria coal and Jamalganj CBM projects produce 10 MMT coal or

equivalent per year.

Then Bangladesh would be able to produce 11,250 MW electricity from Domestic or

indigenous coal.

If no open pit mine be executed in Bangladesh then only 18 MMT coal or equivalent per year

would come from our domestic coal field which will produce 6,090 MW of electricity. And

the perspective plane would be a myth.

But the perspective power plan would be the reality if Bangladesh use the deadly product of

coal named ‘coal ash or flyash’. The ash content of Barapukuria coal is about 12.40%.

According to the ‘Study of Environmental Impacts of the Barapukuria Thermal Power Plant

of Bangladesh’ by Masud, Shakib and Rokonuzzaman of RUET, Bangladesh, published on

“Global Journal of Researches in Engineering” shows that the Barapukuria Coal fired

Thermal Power Plant consumes 0.876 MMT of coal per year where annual ash generation is

0.08 MMT. The ash generation of Barapukuria Coal fired Thermal Power Plant is about 10%

of consumed coal. The report also shown the fly ash analysis obtained from Barapukuria

Power Plant in oxide form. The TiO2 concentration is 3.2 percent. That is the Barapukuria

Coal fired Thermal Power Plant produces about 2560 tons of TiO2 per annum. Titanium

minerals are valuable heavy mineral. The fly ash analysis of Barapukuria Coal fired Thermal

Power Plant also shown that the ThO2 concentration ranges from 0.0033 to 0.0040 percent

and on an average 0.00365 percent that is the thorium content of Barapukuria fly ash is 31

gram/ton. The fly ash produced from Barapukuria Coal fired Thermal Power Plant contains

about 2.48 tons of thorium per annum. If the underground mining projects of Barapukuria,

Dighipara and Khalaspir produce about 12 MMT of coal per year and that be used in the

thermal power plant then 4,060 MW of electricity would be produced from our domestic

coal. The 12 MMT of coal will produce then 1.2 MMT of fly ash which would contain about

37.2 MT of Thorium per annum. According to the wikipedia website

(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power), Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia of

CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research) estimated that one metric ton (MT) of

thorium can produce as much energy as 200 metric tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 metric tons

of coal. Following this calculation 37.2 MT of thorium can produce about 44,000 MW of

electricity.

Under these circumstances, Bangladesh can establish thorium based nuclear power plant with

its own thorium would come from fly ash. This power plant will be safer, able to produce

sufficient amount of electricity, which will be able to fulfill the present energy crisis and

future demand of the country and play vital role for the socioeconomic development of the

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