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Introduction of Steam Power Plants

Er.Laxman Singh Sankhla
B.E.Mech., Chartered Engineer
Jodhpur, India
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Steam Power Plants
The process of generation of power from steam power plants, utilizing coal or lignite fuel,essentially
entails two stages. In the first stage, the chemical energy stored in the coal isconverted into heat
energy in coal-fired boilers. In the second stage, high-pressure steam,which is generated in the
boilers, is passed through turbines (through conversion of heatenergy into mechanical energy),
which in turn is coupled to generators (through conversion of mechanical energy into electrical
energy), thereby generating electricity. The water steam cycleessentially contains a coal-fired steam
generator, a steam turbine with condenser, a feedwatertank, low-pressure (LP) heaters and high-
pressure (HP) heaters and connecting pipelines.The superheated steam produced in the steam
generator is supplied to the steam turbine,which drives the three-phase AC generator. After leaving
the HP turbine, the steam is reheatedin the steam generator and fed to the intermediate pressure
(IP) turbine. In the LP turbine,the steam coming directly from the IP turbine expands to condenser
pressure and is condensedin the condenser. Closed cycle water system is used for cooling the
condenser. Thecondensation collected in the condenser hot well is discharged by the condensate
pumps andsupplied via the LP condensate heaters into the feedwater tank. The feedwater is
furtherheated by bled steam from turbine and dissolved gases from the feedwater are liberated.
Theboiler feed pumps discharge feed water from the feedwater tank via the HP heaters to
theeconomizer. Steaming starts from this point onwards. The high temperature steam water mix
isfurther converted into steam in water walls and finally passed through the super heaterssections
for converting the saturated steam into superheated steam.

Steam power plant cycles are characterized by the pressure level at which they operate. Sub-critical
cycles use pressures below the critical pressure of water. Typical popular unit sizes of large plants
are in multiples of 125 /135 MW, 250/300 MW, 500 MW or 600 MW. On the otherhand,
supercritical cycles operate above the critical pressure providing higher efficiency. Thesecycles have
varying unit sizes and varying parameters.
Boiler types can be alternatives of various capacity parameters, namely:
Atmospheric Fluidized Bed Combustion type (AFBC);
Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion type (CFBC);
Pulverized Fuel type (PF); and
Stoking Boilers.

Captive Power Generation in India
Captive power refers to power generation from a project set up for captive industrialconsumption.
Due to the continuing shortage of power and Indias economic growth, there hasbeen an increase in
the requirement for captive power projects in India. As most captive unitsare based on diesel
generator sets, the cost of generation has increased sharply with risingcrude oil and diesel prices.