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Visit to Shanghai, China

Recently, I had the privilege to travel to Shanghai with my longstanding friend Prof Mao Jianxiong of Tsinghua University. We went to meet Mr Feng Weizhong, who is the Chief Engineer of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao No. 3 power plant. This comprises 2 x 1 GWe USC coal fired units, which are equipped with Alstom Boilers and Siemens steam turbines together with full emissions control systems in line with the need to meet the Chinese Government’s tough SOx, NOx and particulates emissions standards. Being a power plant on the eastern coast of China, the plant utilises a range of coals from China (Shenhua bituminous), Russia, and Indonesia (lignite).b
The plant had a design net efficiency of 42% (LHV basis), which equates to a net coal consumption rate of 292 gce/kWh. However, this wasn’t good enough for Mr Feng who has made it his personal mission to improve on this number while ensuring continued operation stability and reliability. At the design stage, Mr Feng had contributed many suggestions for process optimisations and technological innovations and once the plant when into commercial operation he has further implemented a series of energy efficiency and environmental impact improvements.

This gives rise to a series of dazzling statistics. Following start up in 2008, under actual operating conditions in 2012 the plant achieves:
• Annual average load of 77%
• Annual net efficiency 44.5% (which at the annual rated condition would be 46.5%)
• Average annual net coal consumption of 276 gce/kWh
• NOx 27mg/m3 (which very easily meets the national standards for gas fired combined cycle plants!)
• SO2 17 mg/m3
• Dust 11mg/m3
• Self-power consumption at the rated condition of 2.5%
• No forced trips in the last 2 years

The figures for 2013, when released, will show ongoing improvements on these values.

Mr Feng also has worked to develop a design for a unit with USC steam conditions, with the HP steam turbine located very near the boiler plus double reheat to minimise heat loss and the need for expensive high temperature materials. It has been independently verified that such a unit has the potential to achieve a net efficiency of close to 49%, with an equivalent cost to the present units. Not only would this be a tremendous achievement in its own right, such innovations should have a positive benefit on the international efforts to develop materials suitable for advanced usc systems. Now he needs the go ahead from the national government to take these ideas forward.

The IEA Clean Coal Centre is strongly of the view that these massive achievements deserve the widest possible audience. Therefore we are working with one of our Chinese members, the Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute (EPPEI), to organise a Workshop on Upgrading Coal Fired Power Plants. This will be the third in such a series and will bring together coal power sector experts from around the world to share experiences and ideas on how to continue to establish ever more efficient plants with ever lower environmental footprints. This will be held in Shanghai on 16-17 September 2014 and will comprise 1 and a half days of presentations and discussion from global experts followed by a visit to this absolutely fantastic power plant. In support of this, the IEA CCC and EPPEI will produce a detailed colour brochure describing in detail the work undertaken on the No. 3 power plant units and the achievements arising. This will be published in English and Chinese and be provided free to all attendees at the workshop. I look forward to returning to Shanghai in 2014 for what promises to be a very memorable meeting. I hope to see you there.

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