Adipec Preview 2015

Increasing power plant life, efficiency

In a 2015 outlook, ExxonMobil predicts a 77 per cent increase in energy demand from 2010 to 2040

Methods of increasing the ife and efficiency of conventional power plants came under the microscope in early October as international consulting, testing, certification and training specialists TÜV SÜD hosted a seminar on the sidelines of the Power-Gen Middle East Conference & Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Providing regional energy demand context and forecasts, Bratin Roy, TÜV SÜD’s vice president for Industry Services, pointed out that although nuclear and renewable energy projects were gaining some traction in the Middle East, there was currently no end in sight to the vice-like grip of fossil fuel-derived power.

"The World Energy Council predicts fossil fuel will remain dominant until 2040, contributing almost 80 per cent of the total (global power) source," he told delegates.

Regional power demand is rising sharply. In a 2015 outlook, ExxonMobil predicts a 77 per cent increase in energy demand from 2010 to 2040. It adds that 156GW of generating capacity will have to be installed in the Middle East from 2014 to 2019 to meet demand, the bulk of which will be coal, oil and gas-fired.

Roy told delegates that 65 per cent of existing conventional power plants in the Middle East were approaching - or had exceeded - their design lifespan and that their efficiency levels were on average lower than plants elsewhere in the world. He noted that up to 15 per cent of the power generated by a fossil fuel-fired power plant is consumed by its auxiliary systems.

"As power plants approach the end of their economic lifespan, refurbishment and remodernisation must be considered to maximise their productivity, efficiency and lifetime," he explained. "With the shift towards energy efficiency, gas-fired plants are on the rise as they are considered cleaner compared to oil and coal," Roy added.

He said a key objective was to balance operational efficiency, availability and compliance to environmental standards with integrated solutions that focus on operation and implementation synergies.

In his presentation, Aniruddha Kulkarni, the Abu Dhabi-based head of the Electrical Division at TÜV SÜD, cited the vital role of inspections in extending power plant life and efficiency.

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