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Design life of Thermal Power Plant Thermal power plants are designed for a life of 30 to 40 years.

The critical equipments are the boiler and turbine. These plants have been in operation for such long durations that the critical components in these plants have been used beyond their design life of 30 to 40 Years (refer ASM international publications annexure -1). In fact, design life is not necessarily identical with operating life time. It is therefore necessary to make projections at various stages throughout the operating lifetime of the critical components to determine its expected life time.( refer annexure 2, EN 12952 )Even though , the components are designed w.r.t a target life usually based on a specific amount of allowable strain or rupture in 100000hrs , a further safety factor is applied in selecting the stress ,which translates into an expected life of 30 to 40 years leading to the notion of a 30 to 40 year design life for the component It may be noted that IBR (refer annexure-3 ) also specifies that when a boiler completes a life of twenty five years , the parts of the boiler shall be assessed for remnant life.If results are acceptable as per the standards laid down by IBR, the plant can be extended for a further period of 10 years . This assessment of remnant life shall be carried out thereafter every 5 years. This clearly indicates that the design life of thermal power plants exceed even beyond 40 years. As per annexure -2, boilers are designed for at least 2000 cold start ups which will easily exceed life of 40 years. As per ASM international publication (annexure 1) several turbines have been in service for long periods and a properly managed life assessment and refurbishment program may help extend the lives of these turbines by another 10 to 20 years, thus avoiding major capital expenditures for the Utilities. Reference is also made vide annexure -4 which gives list of power plants by international suppliers which have been operating for about 40 years. A very clear example of boiler , turbine operation is Trombay unit 4- 150 Mw which has been in operation for nearly 48 years and Trombay unit 5 -500 Mw which has been operating for more than 30 years.

The attached reference lists (Annexure-4) give the projects along with commissioning dates which clearly indicates that power plants are operating for nearly 40 years.

From the above we can infer that there is no definite target design life as such and the component should, in principle, operate indefinitely if proper care is taken for operation of the plant.

S.Balakrishnan

T.Rangarajan