With the aim of reducing emissions, power behemoth NTPC will for the first time commission a 660 MW unit based on ultra-supercritical technology by June.

The ultra-supercritical technology burns coal at a much higher efficiency. Across the country, most of the power plants are based on sub-critical technology, which has a 38 per cent thermal efficiency. It means that 38 per cent of thermal energy gets converted into electrical energy. In the ultra-supercritical plant, this efficiency is 44 per cent.

The power unit is a part of the Khargone Power Plant in Madhya Pradesh, which is still under-construction. The second unit of the plant is also with the same technology.

The total plant capacity would be 1,320 MW, which will require an investment of about ₹9,900 crore. A senior NTPC official told BusinessLine that the beta testing of the first unit will be initially carried out in June, with fuel oil instead of coal. He added that once everything is stabilised, the unit will start using coal for producing power.

Coal for the plant would be hauled from the company’s own mine in Pakri Barwadih in Jharkhand.

It is the first of the mines which are being developed to provide low-cost coal for NTPC’s power stations and will replace the imported coal.

“The process of creating a railway siding for receiving coal at the Khargone plant is also being fast-tracked,” said the official.

High maintenance

Engineering giant Larsen & Toubro has secured the turnkey order from NTPC for setting up the plant on EPC basis, which is valued at over ₹5,580 crore. However, a senior power sector veteran said that an ultra-supercritical plant requires steam temperature greater than 600°C and steam pressure of a whopping 240 bars.

Such high operating conditions require expensive metals and alloys for making the main plant. It also leads to higher operations and maintenance cost, the veteran added .

In April, NTPC had said that it would raise ₹3,056.50 crore through bonds. This will be done through private placement of secured non-convertible bonds in the nature of debentures at a coupon of 7.93 per cent per annum with a maturity of three years.

The proceeds from these bonds will be utilised to meet capital expenditure requirements, working capital needs, existing loans refinancing and other general corporate requirements.

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