By Lenie Lectura – February 12, 2017
from Business Mirror
THE first 150-megawatt (MW) unit of SMC Global Power’s coal power plant in Limay, Bataan, yielded emission results that were “way, way below” government and World Bank standard limits.
The power-generation subsidiary of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said the most recent results of government-mandated daily testing showed Limay Unit-1 produced low levels of sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
Sulphur oxide was only at 41 parts per million (ppm), compared to the 245 ppm limit set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the 700 ppm limit set by the World Bank.
Nitrogen oxide was at only 92 ppm, against the DENR’s 365 ppm limit and the World Bank’s 487 ppm has not set any.
Last, in terms of opacity or clearness of the air, which is also used to indicate particulate matters, the Limay plant registered just 0.8 percent, with dust at only 2.4 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/Nm3). The World Bank standard for particulate matters is 50 mg/Nm3 and the DENR’s is 150 mg/Nm3.
“These results are way, way below our government standards, and even World Bank standards,” said
Ramon Ang, SMC president and COO.
“When people say coal-power plant, they immediately associate it with high levels of pollution. But coal remains the most affordable and accessible fuel source today. As such, using it is key to sustaining our country’s power security and keeping the price of electricity down, for the present. What these new and modern facilities we’ve built do, is to give us the benefits of using coal, while dramatically cutting pollution levels,” Ang said.
The company said the technology – circulated fluidized bed (CFB)—it was using to produce energy from coal is different, far cleaner and more efficient than the old system of burning coal, which resulted in high pollution levels.
Unlike the old, conventional system, where coal was burned in high temperatures to produce steam to generate power, CFB technology utilizes a process of fluidization, where fuel coal or other biomass fuels—is mixed with limestone.
The limestone acts as an absorber of some 95 percent of sulphur pollutants. The process also involves low heat, leading to lower nitrogen-oxide output. In addition, the fuels and limestone can be recycled and used multiple times in the operation.
A similar power plant in Malita, Davao, which started operations late last year, also yielded similarly low emission results, the company said.
Meanwhile, Unit-2 of the Limay plant is still being test-run on diesel and will be operational by the second quarter of this year.
Last week SMC said it was looking to partner with Asian firms to set up a renewable-energy venture to further diversify its power-generation portfolio, which also includes hydropower and natural gas.