New record: 36 percent minimum load reached at the Maithon power plant in India
From 20 to 28 July 2021, a German-Indian team coordinated by the VGB conducted flexibility test runs at the Maithon power plant. The investigations were carried out in the 525 MW unit 2 of the power plant which is situated in the state of Jharkhand and operated by Tata Power. The record value of 190 MW minimum load was achieved. Further tests with regard to load ramps and coal distribution provided further valuable input in order to derive measures for permanent flexible operation.
The tests were preceded by months of preparation. An online coal flow measurement and variable orifices were installed on one of the nine coal mills. The aim was to include information on the distribution of coal when evaluating the operating data – particularly with regard to the combustion process – and to test options for equalizing the coal flow. Since the German part of the team could not be present on site due to the corona-related travel restrictions, it was also necessary to set up a remote connection to the power plant control system. In the end, the collaboration worked extremely well despite the distance – everyone involved praised the professional and committed cooperation.
Activity of the Indo-German Energy Forum
The test runs are part of the activities of the Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF). The flexible operation of existing Indian coal-fired power plants as an enabler for the system integration of renewable energies is a central IGEF topic. The work is coordinated by the IGEF Flexibility Task Force, which is headed by the Director Operations at NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation). On the Indian side, in addition to NTPC, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the network operator POSOCO (Power System Operation Corporation) and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals) are involved in the task force. The VGB partner organization EEC (Excellence Enhancement Center) coordinates the work that is supported on the German side by the VGB and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). In addition to TataPower, the following companies are involved in the test run project as industrial partners: BMW Steels (India), Envea (Germany), Siemens Energy (Germany), Siemens (India) and Toshbro (India).