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A power plant is assembly of systems or subsystems to generate electricity, i.e.

, power with
economy and requirements. The power plant itself must be useful economically and
environmental friendly to the society.
A power plant may be defined as a machine or assembly of equipment that generates and
delivers a flow of mechanical or electrical energy. The main equipment for the generation of
electric power is generator. When coupling it to a prime mover runs the generator, the
electricity is generated.
The type of prime move determines, the type of power plants. The major power plants,
1. Steam power plant.
2. Diesel power plant.
3. Gas turbine power plant.
4. Nuclear power plant.
5. Hydro electric power plant.
6.Solar,wind power plants.
The Steam Power Plant, Diesel Power Plant, Gas Turbine Power Plant and Nuclear Power
Plants are called THERMAL POWER PLANT, because these convert heat into electric
Energy is the capacity for doing work, generating heat, and emitting light. The equation for
work is the force, which is the mass time the gravity times the distance.
Heat is the ability to change the temperature of an object or phase of a substance. For
example, heat changes a solid into a liquid or a liquid into a vapor. Heat is part of the
definition of energy.
Another part of the definition of energy is radiation, which is the light and energy emitted in
the form of waves traveling at the speed of light.
Energy is measured in units of calorie, quad, and joule. A kilocalorie is the amount of energy
or heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water from 14.5C to 15.5C. The
quad unit is used to measure energy needed for big countries. The final measurement of
energy is joules.

Energy is an essential input for economic development and improving quality of life. Indias
per capita consumption of Commercial Energy (viz., coal, petroleum and electricity) is only
one-eighth of the Global Average and will increase with growth in Gross Domestic
Production (GDP) and improvement in standard of living.
Sun is the source of many forms of energy available to us. The most abundant element in
sun is hydrogen. It is in a plasma state. This hydrogen at high temperature, high pressure
and high density undergoes nuclear fusion and hence releases an enormous amount of
energy. This energy is emitted as radiations of different forms in the electromagnetic
spectrum. Out of these X-rays, gamma rays and most of ultraviolet rays do not pass
through the earths atmosphere. But heat energy and light energy are the
main radiations that reach the earth. This energy is the basis for the existence of life on
Sun is a sphere of intensely hot gaseous matter with a diameter of 1.39e9 m and 1.5e11 m
away from earth. Sun has an effective black body temperature of 5762 K and has a
temperature of 8e6 K to 40e6 K. The sun is a continuous fusion reactor in which hydrogen
(4 protons) combines to form helium
(one He nucleus).
Petroleum products are by far the most versatile and useful energy resources available at
Their low costs until 1973, ease of transportation and infinite divisibility are the three
attributes that made petroleum products the most suitable and economical commercial
energy resources. Petroleum products constitute 5095 percent of commercial energy
supplies and almost all the needs of transportation sector and mobile equipment are
currently met by petroleum products.
There are only a few possible substitutes that too on a limited scale. They also constitute
the basic fuel for electric power plants while coal, natural gas and hydro resources are used
in those locations where they are available. Kerosene and LPG are the favored cooking fuels
and kerosene is the major lighting fuel in areas where there is no electricity

Petroleum products are used in internal combustion engines, where the fuel is put right into
the cylinder with the piston. A spark ignites the gasoline engines, and compression ignites
diesel engines

natural gas known in the short form as CNG is used in buses, trucks etc. in Delhi? Natural
gas is a fossil fuel. This is usually formed in the Earth along with petroleum. Its main
constituent is methane. It also contains small quantities of Ethane and Propane. Natural gas
liquefied by applying high pressure is CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). In automobiles,
houses and factories, CNG is used as a fuel. It is also used as a source of hydrogen required
in the manufacture of fertilizers Natural Gas (CNG) is generally a mixture of the lighter
hydrocarbons with methane (CH4) predominating, often with varying fractions of nitrogen
and impurities such as hydrogen sulfide. Natural Gas meet nearly 20% of worlds energy
needs. Increase in NG supplies during this century has been almost as dramatic as those of
oil. However, development of NG industry has been limited to markets that could be
economically connected by pipeline to natural gas reserves. The expense of constructing
costly pipeline networks could only be justified where there are both large reserves and an
assured demand.
Coal has been used as a fuel for several millennia in China. In Europe, coal was known to
the Greeks and called anthrax from which the name anthracite is derived. Its use was very
much limited until the firewood crisis in England in the 16th century which led to wide
spread use of coke when Darby developed the use of coke for reducing the iron ore. The
changing rates of coal production are explained by the change in market nature. When the
development of railway began, the demand for coal increased directly but also permitted it
to be transported much more cheaply. The coal market in USA was disturbed by the rapid
market growth for oil and later NG.
Formation. Coal is composed mainly of carbon though it also contains hydrogen and
oxygen and varying small amounts of nitrogen, sulfur and other elements. It was formed by
the decomposition of the remains of vegetation growing in swamps or in large river deltas
undergoing intermittent subsidence. The decomposed material from plants and trees was
transformed first by bacterial action into peat which become buried by later sedimentary

deposits. Later under the movement of the earths crust, the layers of peat become more
deeply buried, and under the influence of heat and biochemical reactions
they were transformed into various types of coal or lignite, during this coalification process,
the carbon content increased as oxygen and hydrogen were released. Methane (CH4) was
formed and either escaped into atmosphere or migrated until it was captured in a geological
trap so that it formed a natural gas reservoir contained by an impervious layer similar to
those that contain petroleum

Nuclear power production is based on the energy released when an atomic nucleus such as
uranium undergoes fission following the absorption of a neutron to form a compound
nucleus. This compound nucleus is unstable and may break into two or three smaller atomic
nuclei with the simultaneous emission of several neutrons together with the release of
considerable amount of energy. These neutrons may themselves be absorbed by other
nuclei, and if enough of these are uranium nuclei, it is possible for a chain reaction to
develop. Chain reactions form the basis of the operation of a nuclear
reactor. Fission of a single atom of uranium yields 200 MeV (= 3.2e11 J), whereas the
oxidation of one carbon atom releases only 4 eV. Natural uranium consists of 99.3% 238U
and only 0.7% of lighter isotope 235U, but it is the latter that provides the most readily
available fission energy in nuclear reactor. The maintenance of chain reaction, with exactly
one neutron (on average) eventually causing another fission, is the design objective of any
nuclear reactor
LPG is a widely used fuel in homes. From where is this obtained? You have learnt earlier that
petroleum gas is a constituent obtained when petroleum is subjected to fractional
distillation. If high pressure is applied to this gas it will be liquefied. This liquid is LPG
(Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
This is filled in strong cylinders and distributed. The main constituent of this is Butane.
Small quantities of Ethane and Propane are also found.
Spirit lamp is used in classrooms for experiments. The spirit being used in spirit lamp is

This is a good fuel. Atmospheric pollution is much less when it is burnt. In certain countries
a mixture containing alcohol and petrol is used as fuel in automobiles
A mixture of petrol (gasoline) and alcohol is being used as fuel in automobiles in Brazil and
Zimbabwe. This fuel is gasohol. gaso from gasoline and hol from alcohol
Water is the only non-conventional energy source that has been exploited by man on a large
scale. The technology is well established and simple. The industrial infrastructure for the
of water turbines, valves, gates, generators and associated electrical equipment are well
established in many countries.
Installed Capacity in India Table 1: Installed Capacity as on 30-11-2014













Capacity (MW)








The history of power development in India dates back to 1897 when a 200 kW hydro-station
was first commissioned at Darjeeling.

The first steam station was set up in Calcutta in 1899. By the end of 1920, the total capacity
was 130 mW, comprising. Hydro 74 mW, thermal 50 mW and diesel 6 mW.
In 1940, the total capacity goes to 1208 mW. There was very slow development during
1935-1945 due to Second World War. The total generation capacity was 1710 mW by the
end of 1951.
The development really started only after 1951 with the launching of the first five-year plan.
During the First Plan, construction of a number of Major River Valley Projects like BhakraNangal, Damodar Valley, Hira Kund and Chambal Valley was taken up. These projects
resulted in the stepping up of power generation. At the end of the First Plan, generation
capacity stood at 34.2 lakh kW.
Emphasis in Second Plan (1956-61) was on development of basic and heavy industries and
related need to step up power generation. Installed capacity at the end of Second Plan
reached 57 lakh kw. comprising 3800 mW thermal and 1900 MW hydel.
During the Third Plan period (1961-66), emphasis was on extending power supply to rural
A significant development in this phase was emergence of Inter-state Grid System. The
country was divided into Five Regions to promote power development on a Regional Basis. A
Regional Electricity Board was established in each region to promote integrated operation of
constituent power system. Three Annual Plans that followed Third Plan aimed at
consolidating programmes initiated during the Third Plan.
Fourth Plan envisaged need for central participation in expansion of power generation
programmes at strategic locations to supplement activities in the State Sector. Progress
during the period covering Third Plan, three Annual Plans and Fourth Plan was substantial
with installed capacity rising to 313.07 lakh kW compression; 113.86 lakh kW from Hydroelectric Projects, 192.81 lakh kW from Thermal Power Projects and balance of 6.4 lakh kW
from Nuclear Projects at the end of the Fifth Plan.
During the Sixth Plan, total capacity addition of 196.66 lakh kW comprising Hydro 47.68

kW, Thermal 142.08 lakh kW and Nuclear 6.90 lakh kW was planned. Achievement,
however, has been 142.26 lakh kW (28.73 lakh kW Hydro, 108.98 lakh kW Thermal and
4.55 lakh kW Nuclear) 72.3 per cent of the target.
The Seventh Plan power programme envisaged aggregate generating capacity of 22,245
mW in utilities. This comprised 15,999 mW Thermal, 5,541 mW Hydro and 705 mW Nuclear
of the anticipated 22,245 mW additional capacity. Central Sector Programme envisaged
capacity addition of 9,320 mW (7,950 mW Thermal, 665 mW Hydro and 705 mW Nuclear)
during the Plan Period. During the Seventh Plan, 21401.48 mW has been added comprising
17104.1 mW Thermal 3,827.38 mW Hydro and 470 mW Nuclear. Year wise commissioning
of Hydro, Thermal and Nuclear Capacity added during 1985-86 to 1989-90 is given in.
The Working Group on Power set up particularly the Planning Commission in the context of
formulation of power programme for the Eighth Plan has recommended a capacity addition
programme of 38,369 mW for the Eighth Plan period, out of which it is expected that the
Central Sector Projects would add a capacity of 17,402 mW. The programme for the first
year of the Eighth Plan (1990-91) envisages generation of additional capacity of 4,371.5
mW comprising 1,022 mW Hydro, 3,114.5 mW Thermal and 235 mW Nuclear.
The Central Electricity Authority advises Department of Power on technical, financial and
economic matters. Construction and operation of generation and transmission projects in
the Central Sector are entrusted to Central Power Corporations, namely, National Thermal
Power Corpora-tion (NTPC), National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) and NorthEastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCU) under administrative control of the
Department of Power.
The hydel power source plays a vital role in the generation of power, as it is a nonconventional perennial source of energy
India has colossal waterpower resources. Indias total mean annual river flows are about
1675 thousand million cubic meters of which the usable resources are 555 thousand million
cubic meters. Out of total river flows, 60% contribution comes from Himalayan rivers

(Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra). 16% from central Indian rivers (Narmada, Tapti and
Mahanadi) and the remaining from the rivers draining the Deccan plateau (Godavari,
Krishna and Cauvery Indias power potential from hydel source as per the recent estimate is
41500 mW while its present hydel capacity is only 32000 mW. Still India has got enough
hydel potential to develop to meet the increasing power needs of the nation.
The development of hydropower systems as a back up for thermal systems has significant
The flexible operation of hydraulic turbines makes them suitable for. Peak load operation.
Therefore, the development of hydropower is not only economical but it also solves the
major problem of peak load.
The next important source for power generation is fuel in the form of coal, oil or gas.
Unfortunately, the oil and gas resources are very much limited in India. Only few power
plants use oil or gas as a source of energy. India has to import most of the oil required and
so it is not desirable to use it for power generation.
The known resources of coal in India are estimated to be 121000 million tonnes,
which are localized in West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The present
rate of annual production of coal is nearly 140 million tonnes of which 40 million-tonnes are
used for power generation. The coal used for power generation is mainly low-grade coal with
high ash content (20-40%).
The location of hydel-power plants is mostly determined by the natural topography available
and location of thermal plants is dictated by the source of fuel or transportation facilities
available if the, power plant is to be located far from coalmines
For nuclear power plant any site can be selected paying due consideration to safety and
load. India has to consider nuclear generation in places remote from coal mines and water
power sites. The states which are poor in natural resources and those which have little
untapped conventional resources for future development have to consider the development
of nuclear plants.
The nuclear fuel which is commonly used for nuclear power plants is uranium. Deposits of
uranium have been located in Bihar and Rajasthan. It is estimated that the present reserves
of uranium available in country may be sufficient to sustain 10,000 mW power plants for its
thorium into nuclear Indian lifetime. Another possible nuclear power source is thorium,
which is abundant in this country, estimated at 500,000 tonnes.

Dr. Bhabha had envisaged 8000 mW of power from nuclear reactors by 198081 which was
subsequently scaled down to a more realistic level of 2700 mW by Dr. Sarabhai out of this
only 1040 MW has materialized which is less than 1.5% of the countrys installed power
capacity. Moreover the performance of nuclear plants has been satisfactory compared to
thermal plants
The present power position in India is alarming as there are major power shortages in
almost all states of the country leading to crippling of industries and hundreds of thousands
of people losing jobs and a heavy loss of production.
The overall power scene in the country shows heavy shortages almost in all states. The
situation is going to be aggravated in coming years as the demand is increasing and the
power industry is not keeping pace with the increasing demand Very careful analysis of the
problem and proper planning and execution is necessary to solve the power crisis in our

steam power plant

A steam power plant, also known as thermal power plant, is using steam as working fluid.
Steam is produced in a boiler using coal as fuel and is used to drive the prime mover,
namely, the steam turbine.
In the steam turbine, heat energy is converted into mechanical energy which is used for
generating electric power. Generator is an electro-magnetic device which makes the power
available in the form of electrical energy.
Layout of steam power plant:

. It consists of four main circuits. These are:

Coal and ash circuit.

Air and flue gas circuit

Water and steam circuit and

Cooling water circuit

Coal and ash circuit:

Coal from the storage yard is transferred to the boiler furnace by means of coal handling
equipment like belt conveyor, bucket elevator, etc., ash resulting from the combustion of
coal in the boiler furnace collects at the back of the boiler and is removed to the ash storage
yard through the ash handling equipment.
Ash disposal :
The indian coal contains 30% to 40% ash. A power plant of 100MW 20 to 25 tonnes of hot
ash per hour. Hence sufficient space near the power plant is essential to dispose such large
quantities of ash.
Air and flue gas circuit:
Air is taken from the atmosphere to the air preheater. Air is heated in the air preheater by
the heat of flue gas which is passing to the chimney. The hot air is supplied to the furnace of
the bolier.
The flue gases after combustion in the furnace, pass around the boiler tubes. The flue
gases then passes through a dust collector, economizer and pre-heater before being
exhausted to the atmosphere through the chimney. By this method the heat of the flue

gases which would have been wasted otherwise is used effectively. Thus the overall
efficiency of the plant is improved.
Air pollution:
The pollution of the surrounding atmosphere is caused by the emission of objectable gases
and dust through the chimney. The air pollution and smoke cause nuisance to people
surrounding the planet.
Feed water and steam circuit:
The steam generated in the boiler passes through super heater and is supplied to the steam
turbine. Work is done by the expansion of steam in the turbine and the pressure of steam is
reduced. The expanded steam then passes to the condenser, where it is condensed.
The condensate leaving the condenser is first heated in a l.p. water heater by using the
steam taken from the low pressure extraction point of the turbine. Again steam taken from
the high pressure extraction point of the turbine is used for heating the feed water in the H.P
water heater. The hot feed water is passing through the economizer, where it is further
heated by means of flue gases. The feed water which is sufficiently heated by the feed
water heaters and economizer is then fed into the boiler.
Cooling water circuit:
Abundant quantity of water is required for condensing the steam in the condenser. Water
circulating through the condenser may be taken from various sources such as river or lake,
provided adequate water supply is available from the river or lake throughout the year.
If adequate quantity of water is not available at the plant site, the hot water from the
condenser is cooled in the cooling tower or cooling ponds and circulated again.

Coal and ash handling plant : The coal is transported to the power station by road or rail
and is stored in the coal storage plant. Storage of coal is primarily a matter of protection
against coal strikes, failure of transportation system and general coal shortages. From the
coal storage plant, coal is delivered to the coal handling plant where it is pulverised (i.e.,
crushed into small pieces) in order to increase its surface exposure, thus promoting rapid
combustion without using large quantity of excess air. The pulverised coal is fed to the
boiler by belt conveyors. The coal is burnt in the boiler and the ash produced after the
complete combustion of coal is removed to the ash handling plant and then delivered to the

ash storage plant for disposal. The removal of the ash from the boiler furnace is necessary
for proper burning of coal.
It is worthwhile to give a passing reference to the amount of coal burnt
and ash produced in a modern thermal power station. A 100 MW station operating at 50%
load factor may burn about 20,000 tons of coal per month and ash produced may be to the
tune of 10% to 15% of coal fired i.e.., 2,000 to 3,000 tons. In fact, in a thermal station,
about 50% to 60% of the total operating cost consists of fuel purchasing and its handling.
2. Steam generating plant : The steam generating plant consists of a boiler for the
production of steam and other auxiliary equipment for the utilisation of flue gases.
(i) Boiler : The heat of combustion of coal in the boiler is utilised to convert water into
steam at high temperature and pressure. The flue gases from the boiler make their journey
through super heater economiser, air pre-heater and are finally exhausted to atmosphere
through the chimney.
(ii) Super heater : The steam produced in the boiler is wet and is passed through a super
heater where it is dried and superheated (i.e.., steam temperature increased above that of
boiling point of water) by the flue gases on their way to chimney. Super heating provides
two principal benefits. Firstly, the overall efficiency is increased. Secondly, too much
condensation in the last stages of turbine (which would cause blade corrosion) is avoided.
The superheated steam from the super heater is fed to steam turbine through the main
(iii) Economiser : An economiser is essentially a feed water heater and derives heat from
the flue gases for this purpose. The feed water is fed to the economiser before supplying to
the boiler. The economiser extracts a part of heat of flue gases to increase the feed water

(iv) Air pre-heater : An air pre-heater increases the temperature of the air supplied for coal
burning by deriving heat from flue gases. Air is drawn from the atmosphere by a forced
draught fan and is passed through air pre-heater before supplying to the boiler furnace. The
air pre-heater extracts heat from flue gases and increases the temperature of air used for
coal combustion. The principal benefits of preheating the air are : increased thermal
efficiency and increased steam capacity per square metre of boiler surface.

3. Steam turbine : The dry and superheated steam from the super heater is fed to the
steam turbine through main valve. The heat energy of steam when passing over the blades
of turbine is converted into mechanical energy. After giving heat energy to the turbine, the
steam is exhausted to the condenser which condenses the exhausted steam by means of
cold water circulation.
4. Alternator : The steam turbine is coupled to an alternator. The alternator converts
mechanical energy of turbine into electrical energy. The electrical output from the alternator
is delivered to the bus bars through transformer, circuit breakers and isolators.
5. Feed water : The condensate from the condenser is used as feed water to the boiler.
Some water may be lost in the cycle which is suitably made up from external source. The
feed water on its way to the boiler is heated by water heaters and economiser. This helps in
raising the overall efficiency of the plant.
6. Cooling arrangement : In order to improve the efficiency of the plant, the steam
exhausted from the turbine is condensed by means of a condenser. Water is drawn from a
natural source of supply such as a river, canal or lake and is circulated through the
condenser. The circulating water takes up the heat of the exhausted steam and itself
becomes hot. This hot water coming out from the condenser is discharged at a suitable

location down the river. In case the availability of water from the source of supply is not
assured throughout the year, cooling towers are used. During the scarcity of water in the
river, hot water from the condenser is passed on to the cooling towers where it is cooled.
The cold water from the cooling tower is reused in the condenser.
(iii) It can be installed at any place irrespective of the existence of coal. The coal can be
(iv) It requires less space as compared to the hydroelectric power station.
(v) The cost of generation is lesser than that of the diesel power station.
(i) It pollutes the atmosphere due to the production of large amount of smoke and fumes.
(ii) It is costlier in running cost as compared to hydroelectric plant.

Coal delivery equipment is one of the major components of plant cost. The various steps involved
in coal handling are as follows
(i) Coal delivery (ii) Unloading
(iii) Preparation (iv) Transfer
(v) Outdoor storage (vi) Covered storage
(vii) In plant handling (viii) Weighing and measuring
(ix) Feeding the coal into furnace
Coal Delivery




Outdoor Storage
(Dead Storage)

Covered Storage
(Live Storage)

In plant handling

Weighing and


(i) Coal Delivery. The coal from supply points is delivered by ships or boats to power stations
situated near to sea or river whereas coal is supplied by rail or trucks to the power stations which are
situated away from sea or river. The transportation of coal by trucks is used if the railway facilities are
not available.
(ii) Unloading. The type of equipment to be used for unloading the coal received at the power
station depends on how coal is received at the power station. If coal is delivered by trucks, there is no need of
unloading device as the trucks may dump the coal to the outdoor storage. Coal is easily handled
if the lift trucks with scoop are used. In case the coal is brought by railway wagons, ships or boats, the
unloading may be done by car shakes, rotary car dumpers, cranes, grab buckets and coal accelerators.

Rotary car dumpers although costly are quite efficient for unloading closed wagons.
(iii) Preparation. When the coal delivered is in the form of big lumps and it is not of proper size,
the preparation (sizing) of coal can be achieved by crushers, breakers, sizers driers and magnetic separators.
(iv) Transfer. After preparation coal is transferred to the dead storage by means of the following
systems :
1. Belt conveyors. 2. Screw conveyors.
3. Bucket elevators. 4. Grab bucket elevators.
5. Skip hoists. 6. Flight conveyor.

The Stacker Reclaimer is provided to stack the excess coal received from the
mines and to reclaim the coal, as and when required
Trippers are provided on coalbunkers to receive coal from the conveyors and
feed it to the bunkers